Uninstall Adobe Flash now – a plain language explanation

Uninstall Adobe Flash now – a plain language explanation

If your website still relies on Adobe Flash, it’s time to update the site. It was time to ditch Flash years ago, but a small percentage of designers still use it. By the end of 2020, Adobe will no longer support or offer the Flash player and it will be removed from all major browsers.

As previously announced in July 2017, Adobe will stop distributing and updating Flash Player after December 31, 2020 (“EOL Date”). We made this announcement in collaboration with several of our technology partners – including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla – which issued complementary announcements with more technical detail on what the Flash Player EOL will mean for developers, enterprises, and consumers using their specific OS environments or browsers. Adobe

Why is Adobe Flash a problem?

Flash is a bundle of insecurities and has been in its death throws for years. Despite the many signs of obsolescence, there are potentially millions of sites still using it. According to W3Tech’s Web Technology Survey, approx. 2.6% of all websites still employ Adobe Flash. How many of those sites have been abandoned is unknown. The number of Flash enabled sites may have decreased quite a bit since that article was written.

What does this mean for the average computer user? Not much. You may not be able to see some video content or an online game you like playing until the owner switches over to a supported technology. Almost every major, large scale website stopped relying on Flash years ago. The onus is on web designers to change their sites. As a user, the only thing you can do is find a different spot that has similar content. Removing Flash from all browsers is an excellent move that will protect the unwary user from phishing and zero-day attacks.

Flash will no longer be supported by either Microsoft or Apple by the end of 2020 and Adobe is pulling the plug on maintaining it on Dec 31, 2020. You can keep Flash running in your computer, but it won’t receive security updates. And that is a big problem that needs to be stripped out of all computers.

Continuing to use a Flash enabled site after all support is removed will be foolish. Vulnerabilities will multiply, especially if the website is no longer updated by the owner. Abandoned sites are a substantial risk for hijacking. Once a bad faith operator takes control of the website, they can use it to launch an attack on any older browser that has Flash enabled. So, if you are tempted to continue using one that supports Flash, just to play an old game, don’t. You are putting your computer at risk.

Adobe will remove all installations from their website. That means, you won’t be able to download any version of Flash. There will be no more authorized versions, no security patches, or updates for existing installations.

Adobe Flash logo

Microsoft will also uninstall the irritating automated notification, “Security Update for Adobe Flash Player” that pops up from time to time. A Win10 update, later in the year, will delete it and future versions of Win10 will not be shipped with the control panel feature.

Despite Microsoft removing the automatic update notifications, Flash itself, will still lurk in your computer so go ahead and uninstall it now. You don’t need it. Will some sites be affected? Maybe. As I pointed out, there are still games that depend on Flash and you may enjoy playing them.  Leaving Flash in your computer represents a risk that just isn’t worth it.

The quickest way to uninstall Adobe Flash:

  • Right click on the little Windows icon bottom left corner of your screen
  • Left click on Apps and Features (should be top of the list that pops up)
  • In the new window, scroll down until you find Adobe Flash
  • One left click on the icon then click Uninstall when it appears
  • You will be asked if you “want to allow this app to make changes”. Say yes or the software won’t uninstall.
  • Wait while Adobe Flash is removed. Won’t take long.

Voila, you are done. Flash is no longer in your computer. If you land on a site that nags you to install Flash to see the content, ignore the message. Eventually the site will get with the program and fix their webpage. I removed Flash a while ago and I haven’t encountered any problems.

Updated to include instructions on removing Adobe Flash on a Mac

If you own a Mac, it’s important to remove Flash if it’s still hanging around. First, find which version of iOS your system is running. Then skip down to the appropriate instructions below.

  • Click on the little apple icon, top left of the screen
  • Click on About this Mac
  • Version number appears just under the big apple logo

Once you’ve determined which version, download the correct uninstaller from Adobe. Before starting the uninstall, make sure you know your computer password. You may be asked for it.

IOS X 10.4 and higher

Download the Adobe Flash uninstaller – Uninstaller for IOS X 10.4 and higher from Adobe. The uninstaller can be found in the Downloads folder. Open it and locate uninstall_flash_player_osx.dmg. Close your browser before the next step. Once it’s closed, double click on the file to start the uninstall process. Wait until it tells you it’s finished.

Once the software stops go and delete these two folders that are left behind.

  • <home directory>/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/Flash\ Player
  • <home directory>/Library/Caches/Adobe/Flash\ Player

Once you remove the folders, go ahead, and verify Flash has been removed by clicking on this link – verify Flash has uninstalled.

IOS X 10.1 to 10.3

Download the 10.1 version uninstaller. The one above won’t work, so make sure you know your IOS version. The program will be in the download folder. Drag it to the desktop and close the browser. Once it’s closed, double click on the uninstaller, and follow the instructions. When Flash is removed run the verify uninstallation is complete. You’re done.

A special thanks to the reader who pointed out how I forgot to include Macs in this write up. 

Read More:

Windows announces end of Flash support – https://blogs.windows.com/msedgedev/2020/09/04/update-adobe-flash-end-support/
Adobe announces end of Flash – https://www.adobe.com/ca/products/flashplayer/end-of-life.html

 

Dear CEO scam is causing trouble

Dear CEO scam is causing trouble

If you own a website, chances are high you’ve received the Dear CEO scam email:

A scan of a Dear CEO scam letter trying to trick the user into replying

This scam has been hanging around for over years.

It reads:

Dear CEO,

(It’s very urgent, please transfer this email to your CEO. If this email affects you, we are very sorry, please ignore this email. Thanks)

We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in China.
We received an application from Hua Hai Ltd on May 14, 2019. They want to register ” _______________ ” as their Internet Keyword and ” _______________ .cn “” _______________.com.cn ” ” _______________ .net.cn “” _______________ .org.cn ” ” _______________ .asia “domain names, they are in China and Asia domain names. But after checking it, we find ” _______________ ” conflicts with your company. In order to deal with this matter better, so we send you email and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China or not?

Best Regards

**************************************

Mike Zhang | Service Manager

Cn YG Domain (Head Office)

This one came via a customer last week. It’s a bog standard scam designed to trick the reader into responding out of fear.  The  Dear CEO scam appears to be warning the web owner, they may have issues with their domain name. The sender buries the reader in a bunch of useless information making it difficult to parse what the message is actually saying. In fact, it’s just one more piece of junk hitting your inbox. I posted a podcast covering a few details about it here so, give it a listen.

But, the short answer to your question “should I be worried” is “NO. Delete it and move on with your day.  Email scams are a dime-a-dozen, but they are getting far more sophisticated, so use a lot of caution when dealing with any unsolicited email.  If in doubt, don’t respond and ask for a second opinion. You can always copy and paste the message into Google to see if it pops up as a reported scam.

Mouse scrolling disabled in Win 10 – last ditch fix

Mouse scrolling disabled in Win 10 – last ditch fix

I’ve been plagued by an irritating problem for the past 2 weeks. After a Win 10 update, the mouse scrolling was disabled. I did a deep dive into settings and couldn’t figure out why a second HID device kept popping up. No new mouse had been purchased or installed but there it was.

Screen capture of mouse drivers installed

Hey, where did the second mouse come from?

No matter how many times it was uninstalled, the driver popped right back.  When the second driver auto installed, the scroll feature stopped working. I upgraded the driver, installed new ones and nothing. In a fit of desperation I decided to disable it to see if that helped. Bingo – the scroll feature worked.  So, if you’ve hit the end of the line with ideas, give this a try:

Hold the Win key down and press X to open a quick access menu and click Device Manager

Screen capture of a menu

Double click on Mice and other pointing devices. If there are two mouse drivers, right click on the second entry and choose Disable device. Wait a couple of seconds and then test the scroll feature. It should work.

The obligatory update on my Acer phone – next time I’ll polish my crystal ball

Good news – it’s back. Acer shipped me a brand spanking new M330 to replace the wonky one. For reasons that will remain a mystery, the new one came all the way from Texas rather than locally. That’s not an issue, it arrived in record time so seriously who cares. I’m just a bit bemused.

Acer, replaced it with no quibbles, which was expected. However, I am annoyed by the process. When you send something in for repairs, you are assigned a case ID that lets you go online and track the status of repairs. That’s great … as long as the form actually gives real progress reports. They received the phone Monday morning and by Wednesday morning, it was marked “Closed” with no updates or explanations. Nothing. No indication as to what’s going on or the status of the phone. Was it being returned as is? Was it repaired and being returned? Was it being replaced? When could I expect it back? Nothing. I waited a few hours, hoping the system would update and give me details. By 1pm I decided to contact Acer.

Well… that introduced a new level of frustration. First thing I did was give a case id number and said it’s marked closed, but that doesn’t really tell me a thing. Is it being returned repaired/replaced or being sent back as is? Seemed like a pretty clear question to me. The person asked for the serial number for confirmation, which I supplied. But for some reason all this was a rocket science level query that set off cascading nonsense which I’ll list here:

– phone was never received (I have proof they rec’d it)

– we are still waiting for you to send proof of warranty (already supplied)

– you have 2 options re sending the phone in to us (you already have the phone, under warranty)

– looped back to there is no phone with that serial number at Acer (um yes there is, I have the paperwork)

– looped to you haven’t sent it (please read my previous statements)

– we circled back to the “there is no device with that serial number listed” (yes there is, by this time I was typing in ALL CAPS)

– the serial number is attached to a case that was marked closed because the device wasn’t rec’d (once again, I said it was there check again)

– serial number is not attached to any case number

It was at that point the penny dropped and I realised the fellow on the other end hadn’t bothered punching in the case id. He went straight to the serial number for a phone that was now replaced. I was almost hammering on the keyboard by this point typing in all caps – CASE ID l************* Check again. He came back in under 30 sec with the information I was looking for – phone was being replaced, tracking #*********. Voila. My question was finally answered. Turns out a replacement phone had already been shipped out (at 4am Wed morning no less) and I could expect the phone by 10:30am Thursday morning. That was all I wanted to know.

And this brings up 2 important issues:

The repair depot dropped the ball. They should have had some information about the real status, not some vague “closed” line. That told me zip. A small line indicating the phone is being replaced and a tracking # should have been included. How else is the customer supposed to know what’s going on? Seriously Acer… I’m not a mind reader, I couldn’t throw some chicken bones and divine your intent.

Second issue is equally important. The support person on the other end ignored the first thing I sent – CASE ID. That was the very first thing I typed. Instead of insisting I hadn’t sent the phone in – which by the way was a guaranteed method of pissing me off so severely, I’m sure I left scorch marks along the internet – all he had to do was READ what I had sent. I’m not new at this. I supplied all required information, including double checking serial numbers and ID numbers. No matter how many times I told him I have paperwork proving Acer has the phone etc he wasn’t paying attention. Only when I literally shouted did he stop to look at the actual case. And what do you know, I had my answer in under 1 min.

This could have been so easily avoided if the status reports included real information. Clarity, that’s all I asked for. Acer is not unique in this. I have an archive of tech support calls that periodically make me weep. As far as horror stories go, this one doesn’t even rate as a blimp on the screen. It was miscommunication. One day I’ll tell you about the Sympatico techie that told a customer she could solve her email problems by going down into the basement and shut all the power down at the circut breaker. No, she didn’t do that.

For the record, the new phone works beautifully. Slapped in the sim card and micro card, fired it up and everything went tickity boo. I’m over the moon happy with it. It’s fast, works well with Win10, the sound quality on phone calls outstrips pretty much everything I’ve tried out and all my apps are back. Sometimes shit happens and devices go phhttt. That’s what a warranty is for. Acer replaced it outright quickly, without any arguments. I’m pleased with all of that. It’s the lack of communication somewhere in the middle of the process that got under my skin. One easily resolved issue was screwed up by someone not paying attention.

Win 10 mobile update Aug – Well this is irritating

Installed the latest rounds of Windows 10 mobile updates for my Acer phone and woke up to a 1/2 functioning unit. Yea, I’m pissed off. A number of apps that worked yesterday have been rendered non functional. But the worse part is the smart screen sensitivity. It seems to have adjusted itself so when I type, anything on the bottom 2 rows of the keyboard has to be precisly tapped at the top part of the letter or I end up hitting the space bar or exiting the screen. I thought, at first, I had a bad case of fumble fingers, but after testing email, the store, couple of apps, I’m sure it’s something about the update. The alignment of where the keys are is off kilter.

I figured out part of the touch screen issue. The update readjusted the screen size to 150% (recommended), a size I never use. I adjusted the screen back down to 125% and touch screen issue seems to be resolved most apps, except for the browser. Oddly enough it’s still a mess when it comes to tapping. The apps are still wonkier than hell. I’m not sure what I’ll do, but I suspect I’ll reset the phone tonight and leave out the last update. Either that or I’ll force the Windows Aniversary update. I’m also working on the notion that there is a slim chance the update isn’t the culprite and perhaps something is wrong with the phone itself.  Be a hell of a coincidence if that’s the case. I’ll let you know tomorrow.

And while I’m ranting, why are the only two options available for screen adjustments 125% and 150%? Where is 100%? If the ability to set the screen to 100% doesn’t exist, that means the 125% option is, in fact, the default 100%. This type of shit drives me up a wall.