The Death of Flash and Why it’s Important for Your Business

Flash dissapearing
We got this image from an e-learning website article about the changeover to HTML5. Click on the image to see the article.

We have been getting a few clients asking us about enabling Flash on their browser. Why do you need to do this just to see what you want to see? Flash is going away. It is dying a slow death, and as with many tech deaths, it is taking people by surprise.

What is Flash?

I had to get a simple breakdown from our tech guy and well, here is my attempt to put it into un-techy language: Flash is a kind of “computery” language that enables computers and browsers to play back videos, animations, interactive media, advertisements, etc.

Why is it going away?

  1. It’s not very secure
    More than a few Zero Days have occurred last year in which hackers could target your computer. According to Norton Antivirus, “The term ‘zero-day’ refers to a software vulnerability that the developer is newly aware of, and thus an official patch or update to fix the issue has not been released. Essentially, ‘zero-day’ refers to the fact that the developers have “zero days” to fix the problem that has just been exposed—and perhaps already exploited by hackers.”
    This has led many users and many browsers to disable Flash automatically.
  2. It’s obsolete
    Developers have moved on already to HTML5, JavaScript, etc.
  3. It’s being dumped
    All major browsers block Flash by default. Firefox began blocking Flash in 2015 followed soon by Safari, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge. Internet Explorer is the only Flash enabled browser right now. That will soon be gone too, as IE is planning to disable Flash by 2019.
  4. …But there will be stragglers
    Just like obsolete font types are still being used, nobody can stop developers from using Flash. But it won’t be supported by browsers anymore, just like old fonts are not supported by new operating systems. It’s ability to work will be patchy without support.

What this means for your business

  •  Your websites will need to be updated to avoid using Flash by the drop dead year of 2020, though support in browsers will end before then.
  • Your animations using Flash can only be used on a computer with a compatible operating system that has Flash installed.
  • If you have interactive learning sites or proofing tools, you will need to make sure they have an HTML version.

What we are doing about it

  • We have already updated our website to not include Flash.
  • We are still going to use ProofHQ as our client proofing tool because they are developing an HTML version of the website that goes live in the next couple weeks. Currently, they have a beta version available. If you want to test out this platform right now, click this text in the bottom left hand side of your proof. It looks different but proofs still show accurately, and that is the important part to us and our clients. Of course, because it is in beta right now, you must have Flash enabled to access the button (go figure, right?).
    You can preview HTML on our proofing tool
    While you are in ProofHQ looking at your next proof from us, try out this feature.

Battle the Cyber Monsters

Computer viruses are no new concept. We’ve all heard not to open attachments from strangers, not to click on ads, not to type text that is not a website URL into the browser. Well, gone are the days of our computers slowing down when they have viruses. Computers are way more efficient and attackers way more sneaky. You may not even have to click on anything, just load a webpage with ads and a little snippet of something will sit in your computer, waiting for a command from its leader.

One of the growing malware categories is Ransomware. This kind of malware encrypts (or claims to encrypt) your files and hold them for a ransom of hundreds of dollars. One of the most recent variants, CryptoLocker, is getting some attention for it’s seemingly professional assistance in coaching the victim step by step on how to pay the ransom and receive a key to unlock the files (hopefully).

you won't want to see this screen, neither do we!

Thankfully, we have an excellent staff on hand to tell us the latest and greatest scams out there and this helps us make decisions that are safer and more streamlined.

One of the improvements we have made is to stop sending PDF proofs via email. So much malware is sent using attachments in emails that are meant to look like they are coming from somebody in your own office! Be mindful of the language the person in each email with an attachment is using. If you sense something out of character, it is better to call them and see what’s up before going any further. Get verbal confirmation first, open the attachment later.

  Continue reading Battle the Cyber Monsters