Today, Flash Player For Android Dies!

Back in 2010, the Flash Player plugin for Android was released with quite a lot of media publicity and hoopla. The iconic Motorola Droid was among the first Android handsets to fully support the plugin, and offer PC like web browsing experience. While the first generation Android phones struggled to load heavy Flash based websites properly, the problem was fixed to a certain extent with dual-core processors touting Android phones and some enhancements to the plug-in from Adobe.

Fast-forward to today, and Flash for Android is dead. Today, Adobe will un-publish the Flash Player from the Play Store, which means that going forward no one can download and install the plugin from the Play Store. Adobe had also announced earlier that it would not release any more updates for the plug-in, except for security patches.

So why exactly did Flash die? After all, the plugin was, and still is, being used by millions of users and developers to create content on their websites?

Flash is not meant for mobile devices. It is simply a resource hogger and battery drainer. But the biggest reason behind the death of Flash Player is that one of the world’s largest mobile platform — iOS — did not support it. Steve Jobs had openly stated that iOS will never support Flash, and that the plug-in will die sooner than later. At that time, Adobe and others criticised Jobs for his views, but the late legend has proved himself right after all.

So what’s next?

If you are a web developer, make sure you don’t use any Flash based content on your websites. You can use HTML5 to embed videos and other media content on your websites.

What if I still want to install Flash Player plugin on my Android device?

Well, if you still want Flash Player on your Android device, you can manually install the plugin by following these steps. But keep in mind that it is just a matter of time before web developers ditch Flash as well.

“Critical” Adobe Flash Player Vulnerabilities Found by Google’s Security Team

Adobe has released an update to its Adobe Flash and Shockwave Player, as there were critical vulnerabilities found in both the products. The vulnerabilities were found by two Google’s security team members and reported the same to the Adobe.

According to the advisory from Adobe, Google’s Tavis Ormandy and Fermin J. Serna found the integer error and a memory corruption vulnerability, which could have been used by hackers to take advantage of it and completely control the computers that are affected by it.Adobe Flash Player

Adobe has rated these vulnerabilities as “critical,” and has fixed the bugs with an update for Windows, Mac, Linux and Solaris OS users. The update comes with the priority rating 2, and urges users to apply the update within the next 30 days.  According to the definition of “Priority 2″ given by Adobe, the update completely resolves the issues that caused the product to pose significant risk, and currently there no known exploits.

The two vulnerabilities found are –

CVE-2012-0768 is a memory corruption vulnerability that could lead to remote code execution by exploiting a flaw in Matrix3D.

CVE-2012-0769 is an information disclosure vulnerability as a result of integer errors in Flash Player.

Vulnerabilities are rated “critical” when the product poses a risk to the user’s computer, and if it is exploited, it would allow hackers to run malicious native-code to execute on the user’s system without the users being aware of.

The vulnerability is addressed to Adobe Player 11.1.102.62 and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Solaris, Adobe Flash Player 11.1.115.6 and earlier versions for Android 4.x, and Adobe Flash Player 11.1.111.6 and earlier versions for Android 3.x and 2.x.

Adobe recommends users of Flash Player 11.1.102.62 and earlier versions to update to Flash Player 11.1.102.63, and users of Flash Player 11.1.115.6 and earlier versions on Android 4.x, should update to Flash Player 11.1.115.7. Android 3.x users are asked to update the Flash Player on their device to Flash Player 11.1.111.7.

Windows users can check the current version of the Adobe Flash Player installed on their system by right-clicking on any Flash content. The version details will be displayed at the bottom of the menu. Android users on the other hand can go to Settings > Applications > Manage Applications > Adobe Flash Player x.x to check the current running version.

Download the latest Adobe Flash Player 11.1.102.63 from here. Android users can download the latest version from the Android Marketplace from here.

Adobe Enters 3D gaming with Flash Player 11 and AIR 3

Adobe Systems has announced Flash Player 11 and Adobe AIR 3 software to enable the next generation of immersive application experiences across devices and platforms. Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 will allow game publishers to instantly deliver console-quality 2D and 3D games over the Internet to anyone with a PC, tablet, smartphone or connected TV.

By the end of 2011, Adobe expects more than 200 million smartphones and tablets including Apple iOS devices to support Flash based applications via Adobe AIR. Adobe AIR, a superset of Flash Player, enables developers to leverage existing code to create and deliver standalone applications across devices and platforms.

Flash offers the best way for content owners to deliver their most demanding experiences, including games, premium video and sophisticated data- driven apps, to all of their users, while HTML 5 tools such as Adobe Edge and Dreamweaver are ideal to build interactive web pages, rich ads, branded microsites and general-purpose mobile applications.

– Danny Winokur, Vice President and General manager, Platform at Adobe.

Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 offer full hardware-accelerated rendering for 2D and 3D graphics that enables 1000x faster rendering performance over Flash Player 10 and AIR 2. Also, Flash-based applications on Apple iOS devices can now display full frame rate videos using H.264 hardware decoding. Rich applications on televisions will also be  able to deliver HD video with 7.1 channel surround sound.

Adobe Flash Player 11 + Adobe AIR 3

Although facing tough competition from HTML5 capabilities and the non-availability of Flash in browsers on most smartphone platforms, Flash Player is supported on more than 98 percent of Internet connected PCs today. More than 70 percent of casual games on the Web are based on Flash, although mobile-gaming has seen exponential rise in last few years. According to an IDC report from May 2011, total market revenue of casual gaming should rise to $3.5 billion  by 2015 and the number of gamers should rise to 138.2 million.

Are Flash Cookies and Zombie Cookies Violating Your Privacy?

It’s bad enough that we get hit with tons of third party browser cookies that can track our surfing habits. Now we have to worry about Flash cookies and even worse, Zombie cookies. So what are these new cookies?

Almost every computer that accesses the web, now has Adobe Flash installed on it. In case you didn’t know, the Flash program stores it’s own cookies that your web browser has absolutely no control over. Are these Flash cookies bad for us? Yes, they can store all kinds of private information that can be passed to almost any website that uses them. A typical browser cookie is only 4k in size, while a Flash cookie can be up to 100k. That’s more room for information that you may not want to share.

In addition to being more difficult to control, the Flash cookies are now also resurrecting browser cookies that you may have intentionally blocked or removed. These resurrected cookies are known as Zombie cookies. I found out about this from Woody at Windows Secrets newsletter. Once I found out, I decided to look around for ways to get some control over these rogue Flash cookies. Here’s what I’ve found so far.

Adobe Flash has privacy settings that you can adjust by going to their website.

http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/

I’ll be honest with you – I really don’t understand many of these settings, but I have used them a few times. I just don’t know how much good it’s done me. Here are some sample screen shots of my settings.

adobe-flash-settings-1 adobe-flash-settings-3

There are settings in each of the 8 tabs there. All I can recommend is that you review the settings and be sure that most of them ask your permission for unusual requests such as webcam access.

Another way to control and remove Flash cookies is to use this freeware program I’ve found called FlashCookiesView.

flashcookiesview

This program is available as a zip file and is completely portable. Just unpack it into a folder and execute the program when you need it. FlashCookiesView allows you to see all of the Flash cookies, view the contents of the cookies, and to delete any of them you wish.

Get Nirsoft’s FlashCookiesView

More Information:

• Firefox users can delete Flash cookies with – BetterPrivacy
•  Here is a Chrome extension which also allows Flash cookie removal:  Click & Clean
•  Here is more security information on Flash cookies
•  You can delete Flash cookies manually by going to the storage locations listed here

Now you know as much as I do. If you have your own tips on controlling Flash cookies or any other Windows security issues, be sure to comment below or email me.


Adobe Closes Flash Player 64-bit for Linux Labs Program

Close on the heels of releasing Flash Player 10.1, Adobe announced the closure of the Labs program of Flash Player 64-bit for Linux. Adobe also set the Flash 64-bit for Linux forums on read-only mode,   effectively quelling any and all means of discussion.

Adobe mentions in their announcement:

We have temporarily closed the Labs program of Flash Player 10 for 64-bit Linux, as we are making significant architectural changes to the 64-bit Linux Flash Player and additional security enhancements. […] We intend to provide more regular update information on our progress as we continue our work on 64-bit versions of Flash Player. Thank you for your continued help and support.

which effectively translates to something like, “hey, we screwed up, we don’t know what we’re doing, but yeah, we’re going to do something”. Not exactly a confidence booster, eh ?