Turning inner space into outer space

March 12, 2016

One simple step to a more secure computer: uninstall Flash

Many of us are blissfully unaware of the existence of the Adobe Flash Player as we browse the web — until we’re hit with a notice telling us need to download and install it.

There are still videos, games and even entire websites that won’t work unless you have Flash installed. Just try playing Farmville on Facebook without Flash. This is the message I got: “If your game does not load within 10 seconds, you may need to upgrade your version of Flash. Please do so by clicking here.”

I did not click here, nor will I ever. Flash has been uninstalled from all my computers, and it’s not coming back.

Flash is riddled with security holes that require constant downloads and updates if you are to have any hope of avoiding an exploit. For me, it’s just not worth the hassle.

Last week, yet another vulnerability was exposed, and already bad people are taking advantage of it. What are they doing? I don’t know and I don’t want to find out the hard way. Typically, security breaches involve theft of bank account numbers, credit card information or passwords.

Anyway, if you really need to play Farmville on Facebook, there is a way to do it securely. Google Chrome has its own version of Flash baked into the browser. As far as I know, it’s safe from attacks.

Eventually, Flash will be phased out as newer, more secure, technologies take over. But it’s a slow process, especially for companies that have a lot invested in doing things the old way.

The good news is that you seldom need Flash for videos any more. Major sites like YouTube have converted all their content to modern standards.

So why not take the Flash-free challenge? Type “Flash uninstaller” into your favourite search engine and follow the top link. The instructions on Adobe’s website are easy to follow.

Once you’re done, your computer will be safer and chances are you’ll never miss it.