I don't think I'm going overboard when I say that Adobe Flash is one of the reasons the modern Internet exists. More than a decade ago, it provided an easy way for you to watch videos and listen to music through your browser; it made interactive animated websites possible; and it helped introduce casual online gaming, which paved the way for today's gaming apps.
These days, Flash is used by millions of websites and it is probably safe to say that the majority of computers in the world have Flash installed. Unfortunately for Flash, technology moves on and most of what it does can now be done using other better and safer ways. That's good for us though, because Adobe Flash is becoming one of the biggest threats to your computer's security.
In just two recent weeks, Adobe had to release three emergency updates to fix serious security problems hackers were using to attack computers. That's in addition to the monthly patches Adobe has to release just to keep Flash secure.
Because Flash is installed on nearly every computer and in almost every browser, it's become a tempting entryway for hackers looking to attack computers. If hackers find a weakness in Flash that lets them break into computers, they can attack hundreds of millions of computers before Adobe releases a fix.
Now for the scary part. Getting hacked through Flash can be as easy as just visiting a site running malicious Flash code. "But Kim," I hear you say, "I only visit legitimate mainstream sites." Even if you are careful about which websites you visit, hackers can be pretty tricky. You might end up on the site after clicking a link in a phishing email, or hackers might slip a malicious Flash ad on to a legitimate website.
Keeping Flash updated helps, but each time a new hack is discovered it can take Adobe a few days to a few weeks to fix some bugs, leaving you exposed for some period of time. So even if you are cautious where you visit and you are diligent in keeping your system updated, I'm sorry to tell you that you can still be vulnerable. Fortunately, the computer industry is already moving away from Flash in favor of safer, more efficient technology built right into modern browsers. In fact, you can make a few big switches right now to stay safe.