How Ending Adobe Flash Thwarted a Railroad From Operating for 20 Hours

To make it operational again, the railroad's management went with an unusual fix.
Loukia Papadopoulos
A tram in Dalian, China.kitzcorner/ iStock

The news has already made the rounds (for one last time) that on December 31, 2020, Adobe stopped supporting Flash Player and on January 12, 2021 blocked any sort of content from running on Flash Player altogether. The firm had been working on this decision since 2017 and "strongly" recommended all users immediately uninstall Flash Player to help protect their systems.  


For most of us, this change meant nothing. Adobe Flash was mostly used for some rather simple games that most of us did not really play. However, for the city of Dalian in China, it meant that their railroad stopped working.

Yes! You read that right, an entire city was running its railroad network on Flash. This may sound a little less surprising if you consider that YouTube ran its site on Flash till about 2015.

Still, however, it seems like a risky move. What is even riskier is that despite many warnings that Adobe was going to stop working, the city did not make changes in its infrastructure. Instead, they continued to run on Flash until the web browser was blocked two weeks ago.

Once that was done, the railroad found itself unable to function and remained inactive for 20 hours. We can imagine that many people found themselves inconvenienced by this turn of events.

So, how did the railroad fix this issue? You would venture a guess that they might have switched to a more current management system.

No! They simply installed a pirated version of Flash along with an older version of the web browser that worked well together. This pirated version, known as "Ghost", was still operational and unblocked.

One has to wonder how long their solution might last. After all, with Flash no longer being operational, where will they go for support? You do, however, have to admire their ingenuity.

This story was first reported by AppleDaily.

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