Flash Player received a patch for over nineteen bugs from Adobe this week. Closing the year with an out-of-band emergency update, the year was full of fixes that tried to help users run Flash as securely as possible, but completely failed.
It is not a new story that Flash Player is plagued with security loopholes and vulnerability troubles. Thanks to its nonstop bugs, Flash hasn't only supported some major hacking attempts, but has also managed to stay unsecure even after so many of the organizations and individuals have helped Adobe in identifying and patching the bugs in the past year alone. The 18-year old software with reportedly over 1.3 billion installations has certainly run its time, but refuses to die with grace, while it still can.
The last year (what a fun it is to say this!) saw over 316 bug fixes coming to Adobe Flash Player, an average of 6.1 per week. Borrowing the words of Michael Horowitz at Computerworld, "think of it as a bug fix every day, but taking Sundays off to rest." Well then, thanks to Adobe for giving us at least a day off every week. Horowitz reports that Flash Player saw over 12 bugs a month in 2014; in 2015 we received fixes for over 26 bugs a month which confirms that things are getting worse. At the end of the year, it was even more serious as Adobe sent fixes for 113 bugs in Q4 2015, averaging at 1.5 bug per day.
Will 2016 be the end of Flash Player?
Several of our readers have commented that they have stopped using Flash; however, the software is still arguably going strong. Some of the major companies announced to stop supporting Flash in the last year. Facebook dropped Flash in support of HTML5, saying that, "it is time for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash and to ask the browsers to set killbits on the same day." Prompted by the security risks, YouTube and Mozilla also blocked Flash API, embeds and plug-ins, with YouTube taking up HTML5 Player instead.
The only positive bit coming out of this whole debacle in 2015 is that the software is slowly losing its usage. According to W3Techs, Flash Player's use dropped from 28.5 percent in 2010 to less than 10 percent in 2015. It will be only wise to either uninstall Flash altogether or use it only when needed on those 10 percent of the sites. While Google's Chrome and Windows Edge browsers automatically update the software with any new bug fixes, after the very latest patch was released, it took a while for both these browsers to catch up with the patch. If you have Flash installed, you can always check at this link if it is up-to-date and pray that the updated version manages to keep your data and systems secure.