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How Creative Pros can Stop Adobe Flash Malware

  • Published on April 21, 2016
How Creative Pros can Stop Adobe Flash Malware

It’s 2016 and Adobe Flash remains a Problem. Adobe Flash is the cause of the top-10 vulnerabilities exploited by malware, ransom ware, and computer viruses. Every one of the top 10 security threats all targeted the Adobe Flash player. The threats don’t include a single Java exploit or attack on Windows operating system vulnerabilities – Adobe owns the entire top-10 list for most exploited vulnerabilities, and every one of them is tied to the Adobe Flash Player. This is according to the 2016 NTT Global Threat Intelligence Report. In an age of HTML5, CSS3, and Apple mobile devices that don’t support the Flash format, the Adobe Flash player continues to wreak havoc on Internet connected devices. The reputation of Flash is so bad that Adobe renamed their Flash app in an effort to distance the animation tools from the Flash file format.

Enlisting Creative Pros to stop Adobe Flash Malware

Creative professionals involved in web design, UX, and video creation have a role to play in reducing the security threats caused by the use of the Adobe Flash file format. Designers and developers can help reduce the risk of security problems by not using the Adobe Flash format for online content. By reducing the need for users to have the Flash plug-in at all, fewer computers will become the target of a threat. Alternatives exist when rendering video, creating animations, and creating e-learning projects. Designers and developers can learn to use these various export options to create content that does not rely upon the Flash player:

  • Video from Premiere Pro and Final Cut can be exported using any number of non-Flash file formats that do not require a Flash or SWF codec.
  • Animations created from After Effects or Adobe Animate can be exported using formats
  • E-learning created using Adobe Captivate can also be exported into HTML5 instead of the Flash file format.

The number of known vulnerabilities with Flash – ways in which bad software can get installed onto a user’s computer – have increase by 312% since the previous year’s report. The far-reaching report looked at 3.5 trillion security log files which documented more than 6 billion attacks around the world.

Even as the report was being released, security problems in Flash continue to be discovered. This month Adobe released yet another security update to Flash to patch what the company labeled as a “critical vulnerability.” This patch addresses a problem that allows ransom ware, which encrypts a computers files, to be installed on a computer when merely visiting a website that contains the infected malware.

Avoiding the Flash file format has more than a security benefit using non-Flash formats helps content creators to reach a wider audience, as the Adobe Flash format doesn’t work on Apple’s iOS devices including the iPad, iPhone, and iPod. 

About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics training along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.