That's it. It's over. It's really over. From today, Adobe Flash Player no longer works. We're free. We can just leave

Post-Flashpocalypse, we stumble outside, hoping no one ever creates software as insecure as that ever again

Adobe has finally and formally killed Flash.

The Photoshop giant promised Flash would die on January 12, 2021. Thanks to the International Date Line, The Register’s Asia-Pacific bureau, like other parts of the world, are already living in a sweet, sweet post-Flash future, and can report that if you try to access content in Adobe's Flash Player in this cyber-utopia, you’ll see the following:

Flash death notice

The Flash Death Notice ... Click to enlarge

The above just now showed up on your correspondent’s Windows 10 PC, which is running version of the 64-bit Flash Plugin, when opening some content to test. The image is clickable and leads to Adobe’s Flash Player EOL General Information Page where netizens are advised to uninstall Flash and fire it into the heart of the Sun (we're paraphrasing Adobe, here.)

That page repeats Adobe’s assertions that the likes of HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly “have continually matured over the years and serve as viable alternatives for Flash content.” Throw in the fact that “major browser vendors are integrating these open standards into their browsers and deprecating most other plugins (like Flash Player),” and Adobe is content to let Flash become an ex-plugin.

Adobe’s page also explains why you’ll see the Flash Death Notice depicted above, rather than Flash content:

Since Adobe is no longer supporting Flash Player after the EOL Date, Adobe will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning January 12, 2021 to help secure users’ systems. Flash Player may remain on the user’s system unless the user uninstalls it.

More specifically, what's happened is that Adobe snuck a logic bomb into its Flash software some releases ago that activates on January 12, and causes the code to refuse to render any more content from that date. Adobe has also removed previous versions from its site, and "strongly recommends all users immediately uninstall Flash Player to help protect their systems."

Thus ends Flash, which started life in 1993 as a vector drawing product named SmartSketch, from long-dead company FutureWave Software. FutureWave turned SmartSketch into an animation tool called FutureSplash Animator. FutureWave was acquired by Macromedia in 1996, occasioning a name change to Macromedia Flash 1.0.

Software sandbox

Internet Archive to preserve Flash content for posterity with Ruffle emulator


Macromedia started to distribute the Flash plugin for the web browsers of the mid-1990s, and it took off as publishers and users alike looked for content that offered more interactivity than was possible with early versions of HTML. By the early 2000s, Flash was all-but-required to experience the modern web of the day.

In 2005, Adobe, which by then had well and truly figured out that online content was going to be rather bigger than desktop publishing, acquired Macromedia in part to get its hands on Flash.

Doing so helped Adobe to cement its role as the de facto standard for creative tools. But Adobe also got an increasing security burden because Flash was not well built. Hackers noticed the plugin was the Swiss cheese of computer security – full of holes – and exploited the software mercilessly to infect victims around the planet with malware.

After years of assaults, and the rise of alternatives, Adobe announced the demise of Flash in July 2017, saying support will be dropped on December 31, 2020.

Browser-makers agreed to expunge Flash, and from 2020 onward warned users that running Flash was a very bad idea and would not run it by default. Those users, by and large, cannot now access Flash content.

Flash’s demise also created hassles for enterprise software vendors. VMware, for example, took ages to fully replace the Flash-based client for its flagship vSphere product.

Farewell, Flash. You were mostly fun while you lasted. ®

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