Life & Technology

Why Do Hackers Love Flash Players So Much?


If hacking were dating, cybercriminals would be married to Adobe Flash Player, have five cute kids, live in a beautiful house with a white picket fence, and enjoy the perfect relationship.

Unfortunately, hacking is so much more insidious and a lot less innocent than dating and relationships. With the right kind of attack, cybercriminals can gain access to users’ information, steal their identities, and/or take full control a person’s computer in a remote way. All of these can lead to negative consequences, with financial ruin and loss of privacy as the most common results.

However, hacking can take place on almost any online platform, so why do many cybercriminals focus on Adobe Flash Player? Here are some of the reasons:

It has a lot of vulnerabilities

Obviously, hackers don’t want to waste time and effort on software that are difficult to crack. Rather, they want to focus their energies on programs that have numerous vulnerabilities that they can exploit and make their jobs easier. Adobe Flash Player, unfortunately, is one of the software that are relatively easy to hack and provide cybercriminals with plenty of opportunities.

It has high install rates

Despite Flash Player’s poor reputation, a lot of people still install it in their laptops and desktop PCs as well as mobile devices. Some of them are not aware of the security threats presented by the web client, while others don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding another software to use for viewing rich content online. Still others want to enjoy the convenience of playing Flash-based content on their smartphones and tablets. With this large user base, hackers won’t run out of people to victimize.

Users don’t update their software on time

When was the last time you updated Adobe Flash Player? If you can’t remember, you’re not alone — thousands of other users also don’t update the software as often as they should. This means that, even if Adobe releases security patches on a regular basis, you don’t really receive these patches and enjoy the better security they bring. This puts you at a higher risk of becoming a cyberattack victim.

Flash exploits are difficult to spot

One of the best things about Flash Player (at least in hackers’ point of view) is that users don’t really notice that anything is amiss. It takes Adobe a long time to identify vulnerabilities, and it can’t even do this on its own — it requires the help of individual researchers as well as other organizations like Google. This gives hackers plenty of time to execute their malicious plans.

The combination of these factors make Adobe Flash Player a highly attractive target for hackers. The best thing to do is to avoid this web client but, if you can’t live without Flash Player, at least make it a point to update the software on time and take other steps to protect your online safety.

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