Google’s Chrome Strikes Another Blow Against Flash

Starting today, September 1, Google will actively pause Flash-based advertisements by default in its widely used web browser Chrome, increasing browser speed and security.

Google’s wildly successful Chrome browser will, on Tuesday, begin blocking web advertisements based on Adobe’s Flash technology. The move is speculated to signal a change the digital advertising industry, with advertisers likely to ditch the video format altogether, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The announcement was initially made in June in a post by Google at the time. The search giant made it known that Flash content that wasn’t “deemed essential” to users will be paused by default. With the change, it is a favorable forecast for HTML5 technology that is expected to replace Flash shortly.

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“Video and interactive media bring consumers rich, engaging experiences on the web–but they can also impact browser speed and battery life. A few months ago, Chrome introduced a setting designed to increase page-load speed and reduce power consumption by pausing certain plugin content, including many Flash ads.

As soon as September, this setting will be turned on by default so Chrome users can enjoy faster performance and view more content before charging their batteries,” Google said.

Flash & Security

While flash advertisements still outnumber any other technology on the internet right now, security experts and users have grown increasingly frustrated with its vulnerabilities. They see the ‘auto-playing’ of content as a potential threat, a feature that has been taken advantage of by malicious attackers numerous times in the past.

Related Article: Ad Fraud Trojan Updates Flash, Blocks Other Malware

Intrusive advertisements and other automatic Flash content have constantly been a thorn in cybersecurity for the general user.

It is estimated that over 90% of ‘rich media ads’ – ads that are animated or a video and reacts by changing the banner when the mouse pointer hovers over, currently use Flash technology for desktop websites. The significance of Chrome is such that one in two users on the internet are using Google’s browser, forcing advertisers to be prepared for changes in the advertising format.

Google, at this time, is converting Flash advertisements to HTML5 by default, but the feature isn’t expected to last forever.

Starting today, paused Flash advertisements marks another security hole plugged for users to steer clear of Flash-based attacks.