Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, echoed a message first delivered quite memorably by Steve Jobs in 2010: it’s time for Adobe to kill Flash. Addressing Apple’s position of not supporting the plug-in on iOS and instead pushing HTML5, security was just one key point in Jobs’ epic Thoughts on Flash essay when the iPad launched.
We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash. We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now.
Five years later, our dependence on Flash has greatly diminished on the desktop, but security issues continue to be an issue with the plug-in. In 2010, Jobs used more than 1600 words to explain Apple’s reason for not adding Flash support to iOS. In 2015, Facebook’s security chief pushed the message in less than 140 characters: “It is time for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash and to ask the browsers to set killbits on the same day,” Stamos tweeted. The CSO added that even if the end-of-life date is a year and a half from now, it’s needed to “disentangle the dependencies and upgrade the whole ecosystem at once.”
Security remains a key issue for Flash as just last month Adobe had to address a bug that allowed hackers to takeover systems through a vulnerability in the plug-in. For Apple’s part, the company stopped pre-installing Flash on its Macs in 2010. This allows users to decide whether or not to run Flash while ensuring the latest version is installed when used. Similarly, Apple has blocked support for older versions of Flash to address security concerns.
Apple’s history with Flash has a few interesting turns as well with Adobe’s former CTO Kevin Lynch, whose previous role meant defending Flash against Apple, now running Apple Watch’s watchOS development… and no, Flash isn’t supported, but there is this cringeworthy video from that whole era:
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