Remove Adobe Flash: End of Life Cybersecurity Threats


Adobe has announced that the Flash Player and its respective components will no longer be distributed or updated as of December 31, 2020. While security patches will still be updated as Adobe winds down their management of Flash, it is prudent for businesses and IT professionals to anticipate longer timelines for their deployment, with the exception of critical concerns. Organizations worldwide are being advised to prepare to remove Adobe Flash before the end of life date to mitigate data cybersecurity risks.

Please note that into November and December, there is a good chance that threat actors will take advantage of the less frequent security patch releases and that attacks against Flash will increase following EOL situations. With the discontinuation after December 31, these attacks are predicted to escalate into 2021.

Follow these steps to remove Adobe Flash and ensure a smooth transition:

Perform an inventory.

Understand what systems have Flash currently installed using your software inventory system. Software inventory systems are critical to supporting security patches, pragmatic updates and end of life systems. If an inventory does not exist, security or inventory scanning applications can be used.

Establish a cut-off date.

For example, you may decide to remove Adobe Flash by end of September 2020 to ensure that you have enough time to test your systems post-removal, implement any replacement solution, troubleshoot issues, and acclimatize your end users to the transition before the end of life date forces an abrupt and disruptive change. Examine your calendar for an appropriate day and send a message to all staff that:

  • Flash will be removed from all systems
  • The reason why
  • That it will be black listed
  • If you use sites with Adobe Flash – let IT know
  • The date of removal

Determine any systems that use Adobe Flash.

This might be a cumbersome task, but it’s important to know if any of your business systems and applications use Flash. You may be surprised by how many do, and by how many have not removed it yet. For each of these systems and applications, contact the provider and ask what their timeline is for removal and what they plan to roll out in its place. Make sure to check your network gear and servers especially.

Remove Adobe Flash.

Remove Flash from all systems using your inventory control or services automation solution. Centralized removal of software followed by blacklisting is critical to ensure continued security. Make sure to run an inventory check before and after the removal of Flash to confirm that your systems are clean, and then validate every thirty days for 90-days to check for rogue installations. Add this validation to your routine blacklist inventory scanning practice.

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