UPDATE: As of January 1, 2021, Flash Player is no longer supported. And from January 12, 2021, Adobe has blocked Flash Player content from playing on computers where that software is installed. Yet you may still come across websites claiming that you need khổng lồ update Flash Player, và offering to lớn allow you to tải về it. If you see something lượt thích that, vày NOT download THE SOFTWARE. Any supposed Flash Player update you see is malware. Flash Player was long used to serve malware, on both macOS and Windows, because of the frequent updates needed to lớn the software. But you should no longer worry about Flash Player, no matter what websites tell you.
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When updating this article, we decided to lớn leave the remainder as is, for historical reasons. If you’re interested in understanding why Flash Player was so problematic, read on lớn discover the saga of Flash Player.
For years, Flash Player has been a major vector for malware, và bogus Flash Player installers & updaters have served as Trojan horses lớn infect Macs & PCs. When there are vulnerabilities related khổng lồ Flash Player, which happens often, it’s important to lớn update your Flash Player plug-in—if you already have it on your Mac & are sure that you still need it.
But you may be wondering a few things, such as what the heck is a plug-in? How do you know if the version of Flash you have is the one that needs updating? và how can you make sure you’re as safe as possible when updating the software, given the constant flood of problems that are being reported? These are all valid concerns that we’ll clear up, putting your mind at ease when it comes time khổng lồ update Adobe Flash Player.
Note that Adobe has announced that Flash Player will no longer be supported after December 31, 2020, and, while Flash Player content will not all disappear on that date, it has already become rare. So it’s fairly unlikely that you even need lớn use Flash Player anymore.
The safest way to view Flash nội dung is lớn use Google’s Chrome browser, which has a built-in version of Flash Player, so you don’t have to lớn worry about Flash updates. As long as you quit và restart your Chrome browser daily, the browser (and its embedded Flash Player) will automatically stay up lớn date.
Related: Adobe Flash Player is dead, yet 10% of Macs are infected with fake Flash malware
Adobe Flash Player is dead, yet 10% of Macs are infected with giả Flash malware
But if you still want khổng lồ use Flash Player, và want to ensure that you do so safely, read on.
What is a plug-in?
Let’s start with the basics. Plug-ins are software elements used by website browsers, often to lớn display certain types of nội dung such as Flash or Java. Sometimes these come with your operating system, but sometimes you have to địa chỉ them when installing certain types of software. When it comes lớn plug-ins, it can be hard to lớn know what you have installed or which version you have.
Adobe’s Flash Player was long one of the most popular plug-ins, used as a multi-platform tool khổng lồ provide what is called “Active Content,” meaning it adds additional functionality lớn web pages for interactive or media-related capability. While Flash Player is due khổng lồ be discontinued this year, and other technologies, such as HTML5, are used khổng lồ provide the same type of content, you may still need khổng lồ use Flash Player lớn view certain websites.
What’s the security concern with plug-ins?
Media designed khổng lồ be viewed with Flash Player, or other platforms, can be embedded in web pages, & are accessible khổng lồ users across all operating systems, which makes the software a popular attack vector for malware creators. For instance, it has been known for some time that Java is not particularly safe, but Flash has been so problematic that hãng apple stopped providing it with macOS. Steve Jobs penned a scathing open letter about Flash back in 2010, và this, along with the rise of iOS, which can’t run Flash Player, has contributed to lớn its planned retirement.
Flash was not included on iOS, in part because of these security vulnerabilities, but also because of performance issues; Flash Player would use up the battery on an iPhone or máy tính bảng ipad too quickly. Although this has helped decrease the options malware creators have for attacking tiện ích ios devices, Flash is still used on some websites, & users are often prompted khổng lồ update their software.
Sometimes multiple updates to Flash Player can occur in the same month. Adobe notifies Flash users of new available updates by displaying a dialog. But when you see this type of dialog, how can you tell if the Flash update is valid or an attempt lớn install malware on your Mac?
How to verify which Flash version you have installed
The easiest way to kiểm tra which version of Flash Player you have, và whether you need lớn update it, is to lớn go khổng lồ Adobe’s Flash Player Help website page.
You can also kiểm tra in Safari by going to lớn Safari > Preferences, then Websites. At the bottom of the left-hand column, you’ll see Plug-ins; if it is installed, Adobe Flash Player will show with its version number.
In Firefox, choose Firefox > Preferences, then click Extensions và Themes at the bottom of the sidebar. Flash Player is listed as Shockwave Flash; click this entry to lớn see the exact version.
If you use Google Chrome, a version of Flash Player is included in the browser; you don’t have to lớn worry about updates, because Chrome updates include updates to lớn the plug-in. If you enter chrome://settings/content in Chrome’s address bar, you’ll find some Flash settings.
For other browsers, see Adobe’s Flash Player Help page.
How lớn know when you need khổng lồ update Flash Player
But if you’re using another browser that doesn’t have an embedded copy of Flash, và still supports plug-ins, you’ll need lớn update your Flash Player manually—and with caution—as detailed below.
As mentioned earlier, fake Flash Player updates have been used to install malware on both Macs và PCs. The best known example of a nhái Flash update is the Flashback Trojan horse, which first masqueraded as a Flash Player installer package targeting Mac users. Over 600,000 Mac users installed the fake update lớn Adobe Flash thinking it was valid, thereby infecting their machines with malware.
And while Flashback was rampant nine years ago, a lot of recent malware has also attempted khổng lồ masquerade as Flash Player installers, including many Shlayer variants.
It’s a very common trick khổng lồ display dialogs that look lượt thích Flash Player update notifications, to lớn trick people into downloading Trojan horses. If you see one of these, saying that your software is outdated & that you need to download and install a new version, you can check with Adobe lớn verify if an update is necessary. Go lớn Adobe’s Flash Player Help page, as mentioned above. If an update is available, it will tell you.
You can also kiểm tra in System Preferences. Flash Player installs a preference pane; click it lớn see settings for the plug-in. If you click the Updates tab, you’ll see which version you have installed, và you can click check Now to kiểm tra for updates.
You may want to kiểm tra Allow Adobe to install updates, which is more secure, but you run the risk of a problematic update being installed on your Mac. While it’s better sometimes to wait to ensure that updates are stable, with Flash Player it’s probably a good idea lớn get updates automatically, so you get them as soon as possible.
How khổng lồ uninstall Flash Player
With all these worries about Flash Player, you might not want lớn bother with it. If you want khổng lồ uninstall Flash Player, go to lớn Adobe’s Uninstall Flash Player page for Mac or Windows. Download the uninstaller for your operating system, and run the uninstaller app. Most modern Macs will require the Flash uninstaller for macOS version 10.6 & later (direct tải về link), but Adobe also makes an uninstaller available for Mac OS X 10.4 & 10.5 (direct tải về link). There’s a single uninstaller for Windows (direct tải về link).
Why you should be careful with Flash Player updates
Malware authors will frequently employ tricky tactics to lớn make malware look lượt thích something you should trust, so it’s important to get your updates only directly from the vendor that publishes them. You can head over lớn Adobe’s site for Flash Player updates, or, as mentioned above, update Flash Player through System Preferences. But in no case should you tải về a Flash Player updater from any other website.
It’s a good idea khổng lồ always doubt the validity of automatic software update dialogs, especially those for Adobe Flash Player. When visiting a web page, if you are asked to install a program or plug-in on your computer, be very careful. There are legitimate reasons to vì chưng this, but in many cases these installations can be malicious. If you vày want to install Flash Player, or any other plug-in, don’t download it from a random website page, và especially check your Downloads folder to see if an installer or disk image was downloaded automatically. (If you find any, delete them.)
With the number of security issues that have been associated with Flash Player, it is essential to lớn keep this software up to lớn date, as you should vị with all your software. If you follow the instructions above, and only get your Flash Player updates for Adobe or have them installed via System Preferences, you’ll never again have khổng lồ second guess the validity of a random Flash installer dialog.
How can I learn more?
We discussed the history of Flash Player & more in episode 168 of the tamquocquananh.vn Mac Podcast.
You can also subscribe to lớn our e-mail newsletter and keep an eye here on Mac Security Blog for the latest hãng apple security & privacy news. And don’t forget lớn follow tamquocquananh.vn on your favorite social truyền thông media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, và YouTube.