No, you should not take the update.
Or, rather, you should try really, really hard not to need to update Adobe Flash ever again.
And the way to do that is to never need it.
Flash is dead.
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Flash no more
Adobe Flash, a technology that used to be a critical component of many websites, has a long history of bugs and vulnerabilities. Even in its heyday, leveraging a Flash vulnerability was one of the primary ways scammers distributed malware.
Flash never really got any better. Bugs would be fixed and vulnerabilities patched, but it seemed like a never-ending stream of opportunities for malware authors.
Flash was cool. Flash was powerful. Flash was dangerous.
Malicious Flash “updates”
Even if Adobe Flash had been perfect, it needed to be updated periodically — and that update mechanism could be faked.
Malicious or compromised websites would display a fake Adobe Flash update message, encouraging you to download and install the latest update.
Unfortunately, what you were really downloading and installing was malware.
Don’t do that.
In part because of that, many browsers — most notably Google Chrome — actually incorporated1 Flash into the browser itself so no additional download was required.
If you’re offered a Flash update of some sort, it’s almost certainly malicious these days. You don’t need it, because the websites you’re visiting are unlikely to still require it — and if they do, it’s likely already built into your browser.
If not Flash, then what?
The world has moved on to HTML version 5, or HTML5 for short. It was designed to include most of the features and functionality for which website owners previously used Flash.
One common example is video hosting. Early on, Adobe Flash was commonly used to play videos on many websites — including YouTube.
Now there many more powerful and robust alternatives2, and HTML5 itself includes a simple mechanism to display a video.
All current browsers support HTML5. Most websites have migrated to HTML5 or something else to replace Adobe Flash.
Flash remains dangerous, and for the most part is now unnecessary.
If you think you need Flash
If you think you need Flash, I suggest you proceed with extreme caution You probably don’t need it at all.
That being said, there are older websites that have failed to move beyond Flash. They will, by and large, stop working once Flash is well and truly gone. But some persist in requiring Flash — mostly online games.
My advice is to find a different website that solves your problem or allows you to play your game, and doesn’t require Flash. It’s still best avoided.
Failing that, if you feel the need to install or update Flash, do so only from the official Adobe download page, and nowhere else.
Even then, be careful!
Note that there are “optional offers” present and checked by default. Uncheck those, and keep a close eye on the resulting installation process. Always choose Custom installation, and watch the options for potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) that might be installed with Flash.
You probably don’t need Flash, but if you do, you almost certainly don’t need any of these optional offers.
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