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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Question: Is it safe to install Adobe Flash Player on my iMac?


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macaroonie

 
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I'm new to iMac (not Apple products in general, just iMac), and I was wondering: is it safe to install Adobe Flash? One of the reasons I switched to Mac was to be virtually virus-free, and I don't want to possibly introduce anything that might compromise that. Any advice or experiences that could be shared would be much appreciated!
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Buzzard2010

 
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You shouldn't have any problems installing Adobe Flash at all, also check out the Virus Sticky in the forums: Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ

Hope this helps

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vansmith

 
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Flash, like any other piece of software, will have its vulnerabilities - nothing is "virus proof." That said, as Buzzard2010 notes, there's nothing wrong with Flash.

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chas_m

 
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There aren't any viruses for the Mac, so apparently it is "virus proof," at least for the last decade or so. But "virus" does NOT mean the same thing "vulnerability" or "instability" and thus your question is a VERY FAIR ONE.

Flash has been seen time and time again as one of the *leading* (but not the only) source of security compromises and causes of instability in web browsers -- so much so that Chrome (not Apple) was the first browser to "sandbox" Flash away from other processes (most of the others quickly followed suit, including Safari).

My personal answer to your question is that as of Safari 5.1 and the other updated major browsers, it's safe enough to install Flash, particularly if you add in a manual blocker like "ClickToFlash" to "gatekeep" Flash use on a case-by-case basis. Most of what we see as Flash on websites are ads -- not that I mind ads so much, but annoying Flash ads really are the bane of the web -- so blocking Flash most of the time results in a net speed gain.

I've set (if there's an option to set) the major video sites to show me videos in HTML5 rather than Flash. I realize there are still websites which are very dependent on Flash for animations and games and such and that's fine -- recent Mac versions of Flash have in fact offered incremental improvements, particularly on the most recent models -- so I like having the OPTION of running Flash when I *want* or *need* to, but I also like not having to deal with it and its attendant issues (like revving the fans on my machine) most of the time.
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macaroonie

 
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Thank you Buzzard2010, vansmith, and chas m for all of your input - very helpful!
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vansmith

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
There aren't any viruses for the Mac, so apparently it is "virus proof," at least for the last decade or so.
That's like me saying that my car is accident proof because I haven't had one in the last decade. You might want to reword that statement.

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chas_m

 
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Nope, I'm perfectly comfortable calling the Mac "virus proof." The UNIX-based structure of Mac OS X makes it virtually impossible (barring some considerable mistake made by Apple engineers) for a VIRUS to ever propagate on a Mac. Again, as I've said before, "virus" is a specific computer term with a specific meaning. It's not a catch-all phrase for "any sort of security issue" or "any sort of malware/scareware/trickware."

If you're aware of some genuine Mac OS X viruses, feel free to send them to me -- I'd be quite interested to see one (as would all the Mac anti-virus makers!). Just PM me for my email address.
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If history has taught us anything, nothing is fool proof. I tend to think that French history and those who study nautical history would agree with me.

Let's remember - you're not clairvoyant. Making sweeping claims about potential future circumstances is problematic at best and ludicrous at worst.

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Well, I first made these claims 11 years ago ... so far, I'm right and the nay-sayers have been wrong ... how long a track record do we need?
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Just because it hasn't happen yet doesn't mean it won't at some point. Complacency is a dangerous thing.

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I will go with chas m on this one.
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I will never say Impossible as that is a big word in the computer arena, but it's going to be quite hard to ever get a true replicating and self installing virus going in OSX. It's not because it's apple or MAC or whatever some call it, but because of the Unix underpinnings. Van, you know how few of anything bad happens to people's Linux and BSD installs.

Impossible, no, but probably not too likely, but there is some Malware out there, but if the user uses their head, it's almost impossible to get it on your OSX. If you are not and put in the root password with everything that wants to install, you might get one of the Malware's out there for OSX.
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dtravis7, vansmith: okay, in the name of forum harmony (edit: and a strong agreement that my confidence in OS X should not be confused for complacency) I will go along with dtravis' "nothing is impossible in the world of computers" sentiment. Fair enough.

A virus on Mac OS X is really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really unlikely.

There.
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vansmith

 
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I'll admit that it will be difficult for a successful virus to be written (as some of you may know, I'm a big *nix nerd) but I hesitate to use the word impossible. As I noted earlier, if history has taught us anything, those who say that things are impossible are inevitably proven wrong and quite often with drastic consequences. So, I will choose to avoid complacency and approach security with an open mind to the possibility.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
..... So, I will choose to avoid complacency and approach security with an open mind to the possibility.
Now that is what I call clever forward thinking..... something that people new to OS X should adopt.

Unix is close to bullet proof, but how many layers of code have been written on top of Unix to make it OS X.

Don't get me wrong ... I am still pretty confident with OS X.

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