The History of Adobe Flash Player: From Multimedia to Malware

If you were an early adopter of the internet, you remember how the height of multimedia was the “blink” tag, that made text on a page flash. In order to go beyond the text and static image limitations of early web pages, a number of companies began developing tools to display rich multimedia content on the web, and the platform that became dominant was Adobe’s Flash.

Flash had the advantage of being lightweight, and, with a browser plugin, could run on multiple operating systems. But it was also a security nightmare, presenting vulnerabilities that were regularly exploited by malware creators. Its need for regular – sometimes weekly – updates meant that users were sensitized about the need to frequently updated their plugins. This worry was exploited, and eventually led fake Flash Player installers to be the leading vector for malware on the Mac.

Adobe has officially ended support for Flash on December 31, 2020. Here’s a look back at the checkered history of this multimedia and malware platform.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.