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NCSC: Stop delaying updates and get rid of Flash now

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Askobol)

Businesses have been urged not to skip important security updates just so that they can keep using Adobe Flash Player.

The warning comes from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the government cybersecurity in the UK, which has warned of the potential dangers of delaying installing software updates.

The NCSC was particularly concerned about Adobe Flash Player, which is due to reach its end-of-life on December 31 2020, despite many businesses still claiming it is an important part of their systems.

Flash security

The announcement comes after tech giants including Microsoft, Apple, Google, Mozilla, Facebook and Adobe itself declared in July 2017 that Flash would gradually be phased out of the big internet players.

Microsoft recently declared that its browser family, including Edge and Internet Explorer, would drop support for Flash by the end of 2020. 

However many businesses have said this puts them in a tricky situation due to running legacy apps and other software services that rely upon Flash to support media playing or tools such as data uploads.

The NCSC has doubled down on its advice to businesses after uncovering several instances of updates being blocked or delayed, stating in an advisory that, "Just to be clear: You should not disable browser and/or platform updates as a way of continuing to use Adobe Flash Player after 2020."

"Instead, we encourage you to work alongside your suppliers to remove Flash dependencies. Any vendors that are unwilling, or unable, to do this should, themselves, be considered risky."

Flash has long been viewed by many in the technology industry as a necessary evil, often acting as an easy target for cybercriminals to exploit with malware and other security issues. The NCSC notes that Flash Player has over 1000 recognized vulnerabilities, with a number of critical bugs discovered as recently as June 2020. 

Adobe is offering some support options to companies that rely on Flash to power business applications, and support for some Flash apps will continue thanks to a deal signed with Samsung's Harman group, which will offer to help customers transition from Flash to other technologies if desired.

Via ZDNet