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Structure of a SWF file



The header is as follows:

"F" (opcode 0x46) indicates an uncompressed Flash file
"C" (opcode 0x43) is for a compressed one
"Z" (opcode 0x5a) indicates a LZMA compressed SWF (SWF 13 and later only)
Signature byte always "W" (opcode 0x57)
Signature byte always "S" (opcode 0x53)
Single byte file version (e.g. 0x06 for SWF 6)
Length of entire file in bytes
Frame size (width and height of the on-screen display) in twips
Frame delay in 8.8 fixed number of frames per second (fps)
Total number of frames in file

FileAttributes tag

  • The FileAttributes tag is only required for SWF 8 and later.
  • It contains additional details

Definition and control tags

There are 2 types of tags:

  • Definition tags: define objects (aka characters) such as fonts, shapes, ...
  • Control tags: manipulate the objects

The tags are identified by a tag type number:

  • 1: ShowFrame (onstructs Flash Player to display the contents of the display list)
  • 5: RemoveObject (removes the specified character from the display list)
  • 9: SetBackgroundColor (sets the background color of the display)

For a list of all tags, refer to the official documentation:

ActionScript versions


Flash Player Version Release Date ActionScript version Notable New Features
Flash 2 1997 N/A
  • Buttons, libraries, stereo audio, improved bitmap integration, tweening.
  • Note: This was the first player released under the Macromedia brand.
Flash 3 1998 N/A Alpha transparency, MP3 support.
Flash 4 May 1999 N/A
  • Streaming MP3 support, motion tweening.
  • Note: This was the first player included by default with MS Internet Explorer (v5).
Flash 5 August 2000 ActionScript 1 ActionScript
Flash 6 March 2002 ActionScript 1 Video support (Sorenson Sparc codec), application components, shared libraries, accessibility.
Flash 7 September 2003 ActionScript 2 Charts & graphs, text effects, 3rd-party extensions, high-quality PDF & Adobe Illustrator import. ActionScript 2.0.
Flash 8 August 2005 ActionScript 2 Filter effects, blending modes, GIF & PNG support, bitmap caching, FlashType type rendering, mobile device emulator, and a significant new video codec (On2 VP6).
Flash 9 June 2006 ActionScript 3 ActionScript Virtual Machine AVM2, ActionScript 3.
Flash 9 Update 1 November 2006 ActionScript 3 (v9.0.28.0, codenamed "Marvin")
Flash 9 Update 3 December 2007 ActionScript 3
  • (v9.0.115.0, codenamed "Moviestar")
  • Support for H.264 video and AAC audio.
  • Support for fullscreen mode.
  • Note: This was the first version of the player to be released before the equivalent authoring program. This means version 9 was the first player to be widely installed before much authoring activity.
  • Note: In December 2005 Macromedia (and the Flash platform) was acquired by Adobe Systems.
Flash 10 October 2008 ActionScript 3
  • (v10.0.12.36, codenamed "Astro")
  • 3D object transformations, advanced text features, Speex audio codec, RTMFP support (Real Time Media Flow Protocal), larger bitmap support, enhanced clipboard access, enhanced anti-aliasing engine.
Flash 10.1 June 2010 ActionScript 3
  • (v10.1.53.64)
  • Global error handling, multi-touch, HTTP streaming, hardware H.264 decoding.
Flash 10.2 (Previewed September 2010) ActionScript 3 Support for 64-bit browsers.

Flash protection

Some SWF files can be protected:

$ swfdump -Ddu easyforex_728x90.swf | grep -A2 PROTECT
[018]        31 PROTECT 
                -=> 00 00 24 31 24 35 4c 24 4e 6c 61 6f 56 59 32 69     ..$1$5L$NlaoVY2i
                -=> 52 49 74 37 56 6e 70 61 78 56 62 4d 50 31 00        RIt7VnpaxVbMP1.

Online resources


Pages in this category

Pages in category "Digital-Forensics/Browser-based-Malware/Flash"

The following 14 pages are in this category, out of 14 total.