Adobe Flash has been a true target for most malware developers and hackers. The virtually harmless app seems to have a lot of weaknesses and presents the attackers a very appealing way of compromising and exploiting its victims. Recently, Adobe Flash for computers and Adobe Flash for Android have caught plenty of the attention of hackers.
The most recent attacks against Flash were involving a malicious Microsoft Word attachment that targets the ActiveX control in Flash that is in internet browsers. The best way to avoid these attacks is to download the most recent version of Flash from the official Adobe website and take advantage of the automatic update features that are with Flash.
Some of the fake Flash apps are more of a nuisance than an actual threat. They often open up the app which is either filled with ads or redirects users to a website filled with ads. This generates money for the attackers by forcing people on the ad sites which pay the hackers for traffic. There are more dangerous Flash apps though, such as the Trojan Horse viruses that look like Flash, but they are actually malicious apps to steal your personal information.
It would seem that Adobe Flash is the problem, but the truth is that it isn’t the actual case. Software isn’t always perfect, and Adobe became a huge target because of its success and not its weaknesses, and plus it is available on just about every platform imaginable, except for Apple operating systems OS X and iOS. All things considered make it the Holy Grail for attackers.
How you can avoid becoming a victim
First and foremost, be skeptical. If you have Flash or Reader plugins installed and enabled, Adobe will tell their users to download and install new updates with automatic notifications. Although, it is smart to always doubt the validity of automatic software update notifications, especially for Adobe Flash. When you visit a webpage, if you are ever asked to install a program or item on your computer, don’t trust it and close out of your browser.
Sometimes you may get malware from a webpage that looks like a program that is running on your computer, or an open window on your desktop. Be aware of where the software that you are installing comes from and be confident about it. If you are unsure, exit the installation and delete the files.
Where to download Flash updates safely
If you are looking for Flash updates, you should always travel to the Adobe Flash website which can be found at http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer. This will allow you to download a safe version of Flash for your computer without having to worry about any malicious intent behind the download.
How to check your current version of Flash
The Adobe website also has a great utility feature that will tell you exactly which version you have and if you should download the most updated version of Flash. You can find the utility in a small box on the right hand side of the platform table that has the recent versions listed on https://www.adobe.com/software/flash/about/.
How to remove a fake version of Flash if you have one
If you have noticed that you are getting random pop-ups asking you to update your Flash Player in your browser, then your computer may have an unwanted program on it. These are not pop-ups from the developers, and are actually used by cyber criminals that spread adware and hijack your computer.
Here are the steps to perform to remove fake Flash Player:
- Uninstall the adware program that is giving you the pop-ups.
- Remove the Fake update flashware add-on or extension from your browser.
- Remove fake Flash with a junkware removal tool.
- Remove fake Flash using anti-malware software.
- Scan your computer with your antivirus.
- Check the files that are being infected.
These should allow your computer to be free of fake updates for Flash Player. If you still are having issues trying to remove the program, run your antivirus to ensure that you are no longer infected and use an antimalware to scan your computer and remove any threats.
Stay safe in a new cyber year!