Internet Archive to preserve Flash content for posterity with Ruffle emulator

WebAssembly-powered sandbox promised to be safer than the notorious plugin


The Internet Archive says it's found a way to preserve content created with Adobe's notoriously insecure Flash tool without risking user safety.

Preservation is needed because Adobe will end support for Flash after 31 December. Browsers only grudgingly allow Flash to run today and enthusiastically stop supporting it not long after Adobe pulls the plug.

It's widely expected that once support ends, bad actors will unleash flaws they've kept quiet to go about their nefarious ways.

The archive argues that while Flash is a hot mess, plenty of creators have done good work using the tech and those efforts deserve to remain available as artefacts that show how animation and video became widespread features of the Web.

WebAssembly Explorer

What is WebAssembly? And can you really compile C/C++ to it? And it'll run in browsers? Allow us to explain in this gentle introduction

READ MORE

The archive's secret weapon is Ruffle, a Flash emulator written in Rust that can run in any modern browser that supports WebAssembly. The big four – Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari – all include WebAssembly, which allows the creation of a sandboxed execution environment that runs inside a browser.

"Leveraging the safety of the modern browser sandbox and the memory safety guarantees of Rust, we can confidently avoid all the security pitfalls that Flash had a reputation for," wrote Ruffle's developers.

The Internet Archive's Jason Scott admitted that Ruffle isn't perfect but feels it will be good enough to preserve Flash content. "While Ruffle's compatibility with Flash is less than 100 per cent, it will play a very large portion of historical Flash animation in the browser, at both a smooth and accurate rate," he wrote.

The archive already has a collection of Flash-tastic artefacts and invites further contributions. Instructions on how to do so can be found at the end of Scott's post. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading
  • China-linked Twisted Panda caught spying on Russian defense R&D
    Because Beijing isn't above covert ops to accomplish its five-year goals

    Chinese cyberspies targeted two Russian defense institutes and possibly another research facility in Belarus, according to Check Point Research.

    The new campaign, dubbed Twisted Panda, is part of a larger, state-sponsored espionage operation that has been ongoing for several months, if not nearly a year, according to the security shop.

    In a technical analysis, the researchers detail the various malicious stages and payloads of the campaign that used sanctions-related phishing emails to attack Russian entities, which are part of the state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec Corporation.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022