Saturday, August 1, 2015

How To Speed Up Your Browser And Improve Your Security - Let's Tame Adobe Flash!

During the last few months we have heard a myriad of IT professionals and Tech journalists call for the end of Adobe Flash. Some may remember that the late Steve Jobs, raised the same alarm back in 2010 when he refused to put Flash on the IPad. So, what is Adobe Flash? Why do we use it? Should you abandon it?

Adobe Flash is a widely used technology for displaying video and interactive content across the Internet. In spite of being obsolete, many advertisers continue to use Flash, and their ads consume a lot of computer resources. In general, this slows down your computer and browser, degrades your experience and drains your laptop battery. Many developers have already switched to a more modern and less obtrusive technology for rendering web content, called html 5.


In addition to poor performance, there is a more deleterious consequence of using Flash. It is a constant source of Malware Injection. Running Flash in your Internet Browser makes you much more vulnerable to Zero Day malware exploits - even from websites that you may assume to be safe.

As always, tightening up security comes with added inconvenience. Some websites you visit will still be using Flash and it may cause a few stumbles. In general, things will be faster, more secure and you will see fewer ads. So how can you tame Flash within your Internet Browser? Let's take a look at each of the popular browsers. Ipad and IPhone users don't need to be concerned - Thanks to Steve, you don't have Flash!

1. Internet Explorer - Internet Explorer can be setup to ask you before it loads generic plugin content (including Flash), but this option is well-hidden on the add-ons screen. Click the gear icon on Internet Explorer’s toolbar and select Manage Add-ons. Select Toolbars and Extensions. Click the Show box, and select All add-ons. Locate the Shockwave Flash Object plug-in under Adobe Systems Incorporated, right-click it, and select More information. Click the Remove all sites button and Flash won’t load automatically on any website you visit. When you do go to a site with Flash content, you’ll be asked whether you want to allow it.

2. Google Chrome - Google Chrome has a built-in click-to-play feature for all plug-ins, including Flash. To enable it, click Chrome’s menu button and select Settings. Click Show advanced settings, click Content settings under Privacy, scroll down to Plug-ins, and select "Click to play" or "Let me choose when to run plugin content". When you visit a website with Flash, you will asked whether you would like to allow it. There is also a nice Chrome Extension called Flashcontrol that will do the same thing.

3. Safari - For Safari on Apple Mac OS X you can enable click-to-play for plug-ins. This setting Is granular and can be adjusted individually for each plug-in you have installed In your browser. Click the Safari menu, and select Preferences. Click the Security icon and select Manage Website Settings to the right of Internet plug-ins. Select a plug-in (Flash), click the When visiting other websites box, and select Ask.

4. Mozilla Firefox - Enable click to play by going to the Menu Button -> Addons -> Plugins, Find Shockwave Flash and change the drop-down to Ask to Activate. You can also use the Firefox Extension - FlashBlock - which works very well.

Some websites load Flash content in the background and may need Flash content to work properly, but this is becoming increasingly less likely as sites move to html 5.