Flash Player

Adobe is ending support for Flash at the end of 2020. Article here. This should help in cutting down on the number of malware and virus attempts through this program.

The article expressed some concern about the great number of early-days legacy programs using Flash, and which are still available. The author wonders if we will lose access to these?.

Jim Hamm

Still Got Flash?

        "By now hopefully you're removed Adobe Flash from your browser, or, if you need to run Flash, you're using the Chrome Browser," begins Jim Hamm.   "However, if you've still got Flash installed, here is an article on how to use plugins to help control Flash from playing."
        And you'll want to read this.  Jim goes on to add, "Now even the Federal Government is getting involved. You probably don't need/want to read the alert, but here it is -- from the 'United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team.'  Impressive, huh?"

It's Time to Uninstall Adobe's Flash From Your Mac

 This is serious. Jim Hamm alerts us, "As Steve Jobs so eloquently put it: Adobe Flash is a 'bag of hurt.'  Recently there's been many advisories about vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash.  The same comment has been true for many years.  Flash is vulnerable to hacking.  Time to get rid of it.  This article shows how." 

 Jim concludes with "If you must use Flash -- for example, if you listen to Pandora --  then use the Chrome Browser."

More on Comparing Browsers

        Jim Hamm has found more info to pass along here. "If deciding on which browser to use is important to you, here is an article comparing the various browsers. 
        "I tend to rotate among all the browsers (except Internet Explorer, which I don't use) and find that it doesn't matter much to me which I use. They all do a decent job, and are just different enough to make it interesting just to try a different browser from time to time. Vivaldi is a browser I've been recently trying, and it's fine, though perhaps a bit slower rendering web pages than the other browsers."
        Here's something to consider from Jim, "One item the article doesn't mention is Adobe's Flash Player, and which is declining in use on the web, due in part to malware vulnerabilities in past years. 
        "However, I do occasionally run across a website that requires Flash Player. Pandora Radio is one. 
        "The Chrome browser comes with Flash pre-installed, and sandboxed, which is good.  Sometimes it is difficult to get Flash installed in Safari, so switching to Chrome, for example, solves that problem."
        And Jim sums it up with, "If you'd enjoy the author's comments on browsers, then read on. If it doesn't matter, tap delete and get to something interesting...(grin)...Jim "

What About Flash?

       Here's some helpful food for thought from Jim Hamm.  "You may be aware that Apple is not too fond of Adobe's Flash Player. Steve Jobs once referred to Flash as a 'bag of hurt.' It is an older technology and has been subject to virus infections due to weak security in its design. There are still some websites that require Flash Player ( Pandora, I'm looking at you). So, if you want or need to use Flash in Safari, here is an article that clearly shows how to install Flash on your Mac.
        "If you do install Flash for Safari, the author recommends you keep automatic updates on so security in the Flash Player is always up to date. He also suggests not to click an update notice that may pop up in your browser. Instead, go directly to Adobe's website and download  from there. https://get2.adobe.com/flashplayer/otherversions/
        "You may note in the comments that some people, instead of installing Flash for Safari, prefer to just switch over to the Chrome browser for a time on those websites that
require Flash, Chrome has Flash already installed, and 'sandboxed,' which makes
it safer for you to use," Jim concludes.  

Solving Flash Player Problem

         Jim Hamm is on the lookout for helpful info, and today he writes, "If you're running an older version of OS X and are having a problem with Adobe's Flash Player, following is a tip from the "Tech Tails" newsletter that may be of help. The article is by Jeremy Holt."

        If you’ve purchased a computer in the last four years, this post does not apply to you, but if you’re one of many that haven’t committed to upgrading your system just yet then please continue reading.
        If you’ve upgraded to/from either Leopard (OS 10.5.8) or Snow Leopard (OS 10.6.8), you may have discovered that Safari (version 5.1.7) stubbornly refuses to play Flash-based media. This would be web content that involves motion graphics. There are a few reasons for this.
        The most simple resolution is simply navigating to Adobe’s website and installing the latest version of Flash Player.
        Another issue could have to do with your system’s software updates. Have you run all of your software updates? Mind you, this process may need to be performed a few times as more current updates do not become available until previous ones have been installed. More specifically, you’ll want to be sure to run any and all OS X Security Updates for Leopard/Snow Leopard.
        The reason for this is because Safari 5.1.7 for OS X Snow Leopard, and Leopard Security Update 2012-003 disable out-of-date versions of Adobe Flash Player. Out-of-date versions of Adobe Flash Player do not include the latest security updates and will be disabled to help keep your Mac secure. If Safari 5.1.7 or Leopard Security Update 2012-003 detects an out-of-date version of Flash Player on your system, you will see a dialog informing you that Flash Player has been disabled. The dialog provides the option to go directly to Adobe’s website, where you can download and install an updated version of Flash Player.
        However, if your software is completely up to date and/or you’ve installed the latest version of Flash Player from Adobe’s site, I suggest following these instructions that might resolve your issue. Quit out of Safari before performing this task.
  • Navigate to the /Library/Internet Plug-Ins (Disabled) folder.
  • Drag “Flash Player.plugin” into /Library/Internet Plug-Ins.
  • If the browser is running, quit and restart it.

Emergency Flash Update

        Here's a warning to heed right now, according to Jim Hamm.  "I recommend you read this article and update the Adobe Flash Player in your browser for security reasons. An easy way is to click here. If you're using the Chrome browser it will update Flash automatically."

Bogus Flash Installer & Other Warnings

     The eagle eyes of Jim Hamm have found some valuable info on how to avoid malware.  He sends this MacWorld article which describes the problem of a bogus Flash installer and gives a solution, along with a list of similar articles.  One point is to make Safari safer by going to Safari > Preferences > General and unchecking where it says "Open 'Safe' files after downloading."  This second article tells about safe downloading.

Update Flash Info

        "There’s a problem with hackers using Flash to get Gmail passwords."  Jim Hamm gets our attention.  His suggested remedy is, "If you use Gmail, you should update Flash on your Mac. You can check the version of Flash you’re running here.   It should be at MAC 10,3,181,22.   You can download the latest version here.    That’s my public service announcement for the day...(grin)...Jim"
        Not using Gmail?  Jim still recommends updating to the latest version of Flash, just to be sure.

Adobe Critical Update

Adobe calls it a "critical update" and you'll want to read about it here.  Thanks to Jim Hamm for alerting us this afternoon.  Go to Adobe here to see what version you already have installed. Then go to this help page to specify settings you want for privacy, storage, security, notifications, playback settings, and peer-assisted networking panel.  Are you giving permission for companies to access your computer's microphone and camera?

Flash Cookies, Part 2

         See yesterday's posting on Adobe Flash Cookies. Jim Hamm goes on to say, "After further exploration of this Flash cookie situation, here's something thing I've done just to see how it works out. I went to the Flash folder (~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/Flash Player/#SharedObjects) on my hard drive and changed the settings as follows:
Original settings: jimhamm - read and write....everyone - read only
Revised settings: jimhamm - write only (Dropbox)....everyone - No access
        Flash cookies perhaps can still get into the folder, but no one can access them. I'll find out if I incur any problems with these settings. So far, Flash on websites seems to work okay...after I click the 'ClicktoFlash' program. This latter program prevents Flash from loading on websites unless I want it to.
        "I'm not at all worried or paranoid about Flash cookies -- I'm just doing this because I enjoy doing this kind of 'stuff' (technical term) and because I don't think Adobe should be allowing this to begin with. To a friend I said the following: 'This behavior of storing cookies doesn't seem to have anything to do with Flash.'
        "He replied: 'Sure it does... the biggest customers for Flash are advertisers, and advertisers want to target you. Just follow the money.'
        "I'll see how this all works out," Jim says.

Adobe Flash Cookies

        The concern of Adobe Flash allowing cookies that are not controlled by your browser, to be stored is discussed in the articles here.   First,  second, third.
        Jim Hamm sends this info:  "I have read about this previously, and when I checked the cookies in my Mac using Adobe's Settings Manager (third link) I was amazed at the number of cookies I had, and I did not recognize many of the names. On several, I recognized the name but, to my remembrance (which, admittedly, can be shaky), I had never visited the website.
        "I deleted all of them, and went to the Global Privacy Settings panel and set it to block all cookies. Unfortunately, it seems all this does is block a website from accessing a camera or microphone.
        "I'm not clear if one can set Adobe Flash to block cookies completely and permanently. If someone does know, I'd appreciate your letting me know how to make this setting.
        "As a general statement, I'm not concerned so much about cookies that I might pick up in my browser -- and I can set Safari to block cookies. Cookies do serve a useful purpose in many cases and, from what I've read, are not malware as such. But I'm not clear as to why Adobe should capture these cookies. According to the article, 'Adobe condemns the practice of using Local Storage to back up browser cookies for the purpose of restoring them later without user knowledge and express consent.' "

Flash Player Problem -- Solved!

     This just in from John Carter: If anyone finds that they are unable to view the videos at http://tv.adobe.com, you're not alone. That problem has been discovered recently by several Mac users.
Viewing a Flash Player video at other sites, even other Adobe sites, is, for the most part, okay (with some notable exceptions).
     If anyone out there can see the videos at tv.adobe.com, please DON'T UPDATE ANYTHING! Notify John Carter immediately and give him an opportunity to figure out why your machine works and others don't.
     And now.....the rest of the story.  Problem solved!
     John found the problem with his Mac that prevented him from seeing the videos at http://tv.video.com. It turned out to be a file in ~/Library/Preferences. Troubleshooting this problem took the better part of a whole day.
     The problem was first isolated by logging in as another user. The problem was not there with the other user. So this meant that the problem had to be associated with one or more files in ~/Library/Preferences of his own login environment. It turned out to be a file associated with Macromedia. By removing the folder ~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia and logging out and back in, the problem went away.
     When a file or folder is removed from ~/Library/Preferences, the application that used one or more of the files removed will recreate the files with default preferences information.
      Thanks, John for your persistence in working the problem through and sharing with the rest of us.  (It is sort of over my head.)