Adobe will finally retire Flash in 2020

Adobe Flash hit with zero day vulnerability again

Adobe plans to phase out Flash completely by 2020, when it will stop releasing updates for the buggy plugin.

Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla's web browsers and platforms will stop supporting it (Google already started this process last year), turning to open web technologies like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly.

While Flash has become the basis of many industries and businesses, such as gaming, education and video, its use has dwindled in recent years - Google shared stats showing that just 17% of Chrome users visit a webpage using Flash each day, after it stopped enabling it by default, compared to 80% three years ago.

"Today, most browser vendors are integrating capabilities once provided by plugins directly into browsers and deprecating plugins," Adobe admitted in a blog post.

"We will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats."

Flash's widespread popularity also made it a target for hackers, and even with regular patches Flash suffered from many bugs. One security firm, Recorded Future, found Flash Player comprised eight out of 10 top vulnerabilities leveraged by exploit kits in 2015, with more than 100 exploit kits and vulnerabilities affecting the technology, according to Gizmodo.

That's what led to Google opting to default to HTML5, forcing users to manually allow browsers to play Flash videos. However, one developer has already started a petition on GitHub to open source the technology, and allow web developers to fix it.

"Flash is an important piece of Internet history and killing Flash means future generations can't access the past. Games, experiments and websites would be forgotten," said the developer, Juha Lindstedt.

But until end-of-life in 2020, Adobe will continue to release security patches for Flash, keeping up with browser and operating system changes to make sure it's compatible and adding new features and capabilities as they're needed by the industry.

The software company will also try and stop the use of the Flash player in certain places where it's being distributed illegally as an unlicensed or outdated version.

"Adobe will also remain at the forefront of leading the development of new web standards and actively participate in their advancement.," the company said.

"This includes continuing to contribute to the HTML5 standard and participating in the WebAssembly Community Group. And we'll continue to provide best in class animation and video tools such as Animate CC, the premier web animation tool for developing HTML5 content, and Premiere Pro CC."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.