Adobe Flash was one of the best things to happen to the Internet. It made animated and interactive websites possible like nothing before it, and proved to be an ideal way to stream online video. Without Flash, YouTube might not be a household name.
Of course, times have changed and as it aged Flash got bigger and slower. Steve Jobs famously refused to allow Flash on the iPhone and tried as much as possible to keep it off Macs in recent years. And that was before the serious security problems started.
As Flash got more popular, and more complicated, hackers started finding tons of security flaws they could use to attack just about every computer in the world. In fact, Flash is one of the biggest security risks on computers right now.
You might have noticed that the number of Flash security stories we've run has gone up dramatically this year. Every month there's one or more flaws discovered and there have been several emergency patches, in addition to Adobe's regular patches.
That's one reason we recommend disabling Flash in your browser, or removing it from your computer entirely. Browser manufacturers have the same idea. Chrome now blocks Flash from automatically running, and Firefox has disabled it entirely during periods where it had unpatched security flaws.
Hastening Flash's impending demise is the fact that most of what Flash does can now be done other ways using standards like HTML5. And now it looks like Adobe is also admitting that the days of Flash are numbered.
If you aren't familiar with Adobe's Creative Cloud, this is its suite of products that professionals can essentially rent, such as Photoshop, Premier, Illustrator and more. It also houses Flash Professional, which is the industry-leading tool for making Flash content.
In an update yesterday, Adobe changed the name of Adobe Flash Professional CC to Adobe Animate CC. In addition to dropping the Flash name, Adobe is also highlighting Animate's support for HTML5.
Adobe actually started this transition to HTML5 a while back when the major browsers finally adopted HTML5. It probably also had something to do with Google switching from Flash to HTML5 for streaming YouTube videos at the start of the year.
While Flash is still going to be around for a while, it will eventually go the way of Java, which is no longer installed by default on computers and only used in limited cases. However, you can get a jump start on that now and disable Flash to see how much you actually need it. It might not be as important as you think.