Time for Flash to Die

Today some stupid advertisement delivery agency decided to ship a Flash based add that automatically infects your computer with a fake security suite (named “AV Security Suite”). This affects the latest Flash player, regardless of web browser.

Neat, right? Oh, it gets better. AV Security Suite is ransomware, which does not allow you to open any applications that it knows could close it. Great, isn’t it? The seemingly good thing is you can get rid of it using System Restore. Do this by:

  1. Pulling the powerplug to your PC (don’t do a “proper” shutdown or restart).
  2. Boot into safemode. Usually, you need to press and hold the F8 key while booting, and select safemode from the menu. However, if you did not shutdown properly this menu should automatically come up.
  3. Finally, in safemode use System Restore to go back to before the infection happened. Note that Windows 7 users can go strait to restoring using the “Restore Computer” menu item rather than safemode boot.

Going forward, remove Adobe Flash player from your computer. Since Adobe can’t seem to fix this issue, Flash player is not to be trusted (add Adobe Acrobat reader to your untrusted list as well). If you must have Flash player (for any reason) and use Firefox install Flashblock, it could save you time in the future.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

4 thoughts on “Time for Flash to Die

  1. I agree with you on dumping flash. Switched to the HTML5 player on Youtube and the videos load so much faster and the playback is much smoother. Have you done much programming with HTML5 or any other competitive standards?

    • Charlie,

      Well it’s more of HTML5 and complementary standards. Those complementary standards are CSS3 and JavaScript, and I’ve used both of them. In fact, this blog’s theme is using some CSS3 styling (the border-radius property in particular, though I have to use 3 lines right now as it is not fully supported). The one feature in HTML5 that will make my life easier is the changes they’ve made to forms. Additionally, I’ve played around with the Geolocation API as well.

      Many of the things Flash is used for can already be done with some JavaScript and CSS. And, many of the “cool new” features in HTML5 have been around for a while, but they have never been formalized in a HTML standard (canvas in particular).

      Really, the thing that saved Flash was video and Youtube. Now that there is a standard that includes a video and audio tag with a specific format (well it’s still a mess, if VP8 wins out then we will have a solution after 10+ years), Flash has far fewer legs to stand on. The one last flicker of hope for Flash is encrypted/premium video. The W3C spec does not support encrypted video (for many reasons), so Flash will be the norm for sites like Hulu for the foreseeable future.

      -John Havlik

      • Yes, complementary would definitely be a better choice of words there. I’m sure someone will figure out a way of incorporating encryption into the video in the not so distant future.

        As for legs for Flash to stand on, wouldn’t you also say browser support is one of Flash’s main legs is simply browser support? I know when I’m looking at the stats for the websites I maintain I can’t believe how many people are using old versions of browsers (namely IE).

        • Charlie,

          Well, I should clarify the encrypted streams point. Flash allows for encrypted, and DRM’d content. Anyone can do encryption, just setup SSL (can be a pain in the butt to do, but I’ve done it before) and feed the video stream through that.

          The real issue is the DRM part. Mozilla will not implement DRM. I know Apple and Microsoft have no problem with DRM, and Google could swing either way. If one of them implements support for DRM they may be the only one compatible with that format. Microsoft will try to push their flavor of DRM, and will Apple push their own (again Google is the oddball here).

          Old versions of Internet Explorer have plagued us since high school (hell, IIRC, IE was annoying me back in 8th grade). The older, crappy, versions will die off soon, when I stopped keeping track of browsers visiting this site, IE7 and IE8 had surpassed IE6 (the real evil one). Windows 7 is selling way better than Vista did, and that helps a ton as it ships with IE8 and IE9 will probably be pushed on it’s users.

          -John Havlik

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