Adobe Flash Player

by shwolff

Summary

Adobe is discontinuing distribution and update of Adobe Flash Player after 2020-12-31 [1]. New web standards make Flash Player largely unnecessary [2,6]. Security flaws (and the end of security updates after 2020) make Flash Player dangerous. Uninstall Adobe Flash Player [3mac,3windows].

Explanation

A pop-up window titled “Update Adobe Flash Player” (from an application named “Adobe Flash Player Install Manager”) appeared on my computer screen several times a day. (Note : These pop-up windows seem to appear as stand-alone windows in my computer, NOT in a web browser.) I found no evidence that this is malware. It seems to be related to settings in “System Preferences > Flash Player > Updates”, which were set to “Notify me to install updates” [4,5]. The preceding references state that updating these settings to either of the alternatives (“Allow Adobe to install updates (recommended)” or “Never check for updates (not recommended)”) would make the pop-up windows go away. Selecting the radio button for either of these options opened another pop-up window (the same window for both options, with the text “legacyLoader is trying to install a new helper tool.”). I could find no evidence of malware, but I had been sufficiently spooked by reports of malware that I preferred not to enter my admin password to install the helper tool.

Adobe’s website states that “Adobe will stop distributing and updating Flash Player after December 31, 2020” [1].

UPDATE (2020-05-26). I uninstalled Flash Player from my laptop one week ago. The “Update Adobe Flash Player” pop-up prompts stopped immediately, and I have not experienced any content issues (web browsing, etc.).

  1. [1] “Adobe Flash Player EOL general information page” (Adobe).
  2. [2] “You really shouldn’t be running Adobe Flash Player any more” by Brendan Hesse (Life Hacker, 2018-12-10).
  3. [3mac] “Uninstall Flash Player | Mac OS” (Adobe).
  4. [3windows] “Uninstall Flash Player | Windows” (Adobe).
  5. [4] “How to disable update Adobe Flash Player notifications” by Serhat Kurt (macReports, 2019-10-17).
  6. [5] “Remove fake Adobe Flash Player update virus popup from Safari, Chrome, Firefox on Mac” by John Dee (Mac Security, 2020-05-17).
  7. [6] “Comparison of HTML5 and Flash” (Wikipedia).
  8. How to uninstall Flash Player on a Mac” by Serhat Kurt (macReports, 2019-10-17).
  9. Adobe Flash Installer wanted to install helper apps” (Adobe, 2019-02).
  10. How to remove ‘Fake Flash Player Update’ from Mac?” by Tomas Meskauskas (PC Risk, 2019-11-26).
  11. Beware of fake Flash Player update on OSX” (Adobe, 2018-04).
  12. This pop-up keeps popping up: ‘Adobe Reader is not optimized for your Mac and needs to be updated’” (Adobe, 2019-04).
  13. HTML5” (Wikipedia).
  14. Thoughts on Flash” (Wikipedia).