Forum Question: Is Adobe Flash Player Safe? Is There an Alternative App?

My iMac runs OS X 10.8.3 Mountain Lion without anti virus, and I have seen a lot of speculation on the Internet that as Adobe is such an intrusive programme, it poses a security risk.
I find a lot of internet sites require it however, the latest being a weather forecast.
Is it safe to use if kept up to date? Is there an Apple alternative?
Thanks for a great forum, which is a lifeline for new iMac users.
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Adrian Hayes

Comments: 6 Responses to “Is Adobe Flash Player Safe? Is There an Alternative App?”

    5/19/13 @ 8:34 am

    Adobe’s Flash web browser plug-in has been around for a long time. It is used to build interactive applications into web pages, such as games, video players, presentations, work apps, just about anything. A Flash app in a web page can be as simple as an animation or audio player, or as complex as an office suite of tools.
    The question of “is it safe” is not a straight-forward one. Nothing is completely safe — using your browser, surfing the web, using your computer at all. There are always risks. Being an environment where developers can create apps, there are developers who can create very useful or entertaining things with Flash. There are also those who seek to use its power to do harm. But that is true of web pages in general, not just Flash.
    I’m a Flash developer. I have many Flash game sites that I have built myself. I spend most of my day programming in Flash. I’ve written books about Flash game development. So I know a lot about this.
    I’m not sure what you mean by “intrusive” in your question. I don’t see how that word applies. Flash can be used to create some great interactivity on web sites. But how is that “intrusive?” If you go to a web page that has a game, or a graphing app, or a video player, how is that intrusive — presumably you went to that page to use that app.
    It is hard to use an enjoy the web today without having the Flash plug-in installed. You’ll hit pages you want to go to that won’t work without it. Like web browser and the OS itself, it comes under attack occasionally. And like browsers and the OS itself, it is updated to repel those attacks.
    So the bottom line is that you should have the Flash plug-in installed, and it is very important to keep it updated. Just as it is important to keep your browser and OS updated.
    There really isn’t an alternative to Flash. You see, to play Flash content on a page you need the Flash plug-in. An alternative would depend on the content and web site. For instance, if you have Microsoft’s Silverlight plug-in, then it can do similar things to Flash. But that doesn’t help when you go to a web page that has a Flash app in it — you need Flash to run it. Likewise, the Safari browser has the ability to play standard video without using Flash. But that means the web page needs to have standard video on it. If the web page has a Flash video player on it, then you need Flash to see it.
    One not-very-good alternative is to use Google Chrome. That browser has Flash built-in, not as a plug-in. It is a different approach. But some people like to use Safari for browsing normally, and then switch to Chrome to view a page that uses Flash. But switching browsers all the time isn’t a great solution for most people. However, if you use Chrome as your primary browser, then it is a non-issue.

    John M. Hammer
    5/19/13 @ 9:34 am

    100% agree with everything Gary wrote above. I do like running the Click2Flash Safari extension, though. It allows me to choose when Flash loads and what bits of Flash will load. And better, it allows me to use non-Flash video players within Safari on most sites that push their video with Flash.

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    5/31/13 @ 12:58 pm

    I wished they would come out with latest Mac Mini,because I can`t use the new Flash player with the 2007 Mac Mini on most sites.
    I thought the Flash player just played automatically what ever site you were on.
    That`s something else I have learned off you Gary.

    CK BRENNAN
    6/20/13 @ 10:39 am

    When viewing a short video w/flash, the computer has a small box that says “this site” requests permission to store information on your computer. Is it OK to allow? As you can see, I am an inexperienced user. Thank you.

      6/20/13 @ 11:18 am

      If it is the Flash video app asking, then yes. Flash stores bits of data to remember things — like perhaps your volume settings and such.

        CK BRENNAN
        6/24/13 @ 8:38 am

        Thank you so much! Your site helps me tremendously.

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