Adobe wants to save Firefox users from falling victim to Flash-based security flaws. Working with Mozilla, Adobe has created a beta version of Flash with a new sandbox technology designed to limit the damage Flash-based attacks can do. Adobe previously added similar sandbox protection to Google’s Chrome browser.
If you’d like to test the new Flash Player Protected Mode for Firefox on Windows 7 or Vista, head over to the Adobe Labs download page. Bear in mind that this is a beta release and may contain some bugs.
The new sandbox feature for Flash in Firefox will provide extra protection against malicious browser exploits launched through the Flash Player. Sandboxing means that even when such attacks succeed, the damage is limited and won’t spill over into the rest of the browser or even the operating system.
The design of the Flash sandbox is similar to what Adobe uses in its Adobe Reader X Protected Mode. “Since its launch in November 2010, we have not seen a single successful exploit in the wild against Adobe Reader X,” writes Peleus Uhley, senior security researcher for Adobe. Uhley goes on to say that Adobe is hoping to “see similar results with the Flash Player sandbox for Firefox once the final version is released later this year.”
While Adobe has ceased development of mobile Flash, the company continues to develop and improve Flash for the desktop. HTML5′s canvas and video elements — among others — are designed to remove the need for plugins like Flash on the web. However, HTML5 support remains incomplete even in the newest browsers, and Flash will likely remain a necessary part of the web video and animation world for the foreseeable future.