How to Protect Firestick from Malware?

Technological advancement has brought modern ways of entertainment such as Chromecast, Firestick, and others. However, along with entertainment, these are all are sources of major online threats too.

Since streaming through Firestick and others requires a constant connection to the internet, cybercriminals look at them as the medium to spread their malicious codes. In recent times, many Amazon Firestick devices were infected with mining malware known as cryptojacking. The malware hijacks the Firestick’s processor for using its power for crypto mining.

For those who don’t know, crypto mining is a process in which crypto miners list the transactions for popular cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin in the blockchain, and ultimately get some amount of cryptocurrency in the reward. It requires a massive amount of processing power to get the transaction details of cryptocurrency quickly. Even a PC with high-end specifications cannot generate such power. So some crypto miners use unethical ways to acquire such an amount of energy. They build malware that can hijack into other devices and use their processing power for crypto mining.

When a cryptojacking malware hijacks the Amazon Firestick, it causes a massive slowdown in all its processes, repeated crashing in the middle of streaming, longer updates installation time, and more such troubles.

Therefore, it is essential to protect your device from such malware as it can even cause permanent damage to the device. Further, it can also perform other malicious tasks such as data stealing, spying, and others.

In this guide, we would list out several ways to protect Amazon Firestick from malware attacks. We would also discuss the symptoms of a malware attack on Firestick and how to get rid of it.

Preventive Measures to keep Virus away from Firestick

Since Firestick is an Android-based device, it is vulnerable to frequent malware attacks. Here are some measures to ensure that malware stays away from your Amazon Firestick device. 

Check for Firmware/Software Updates

The first line of defense is to regularly check for the firmware updates and update it whenever required. The firmware updates are very crucial as they fix the security loops in the device. Other than the firmware updates, the manufacturers also provide regular software updates to introduce the latest security patches. So, a software update shouldn’t be skipped or kept waiting for long. To check for the updates, navigate to Settings > My Fire TV > Device.

Disable ADB Debugging

IF you have ever used the ADB settings on your device, you might have enabled the ADB debugging for it. However, allowing the ADB debugging makes your device vulnerable to malware attacks, especially the cryptojacking. So, if the ADB debugging is currently enabled on your Amazon Firestick, it is recommended to turn it OFF.

Also, in the future, if you require turning ON the ADB debugging, remember to turn it off after the use.

Download Apps only from the Official Source

Downloading apps from third-party unofficial sources is always a risk on Android devices, be it smartphones, smart TVs, or the Firestick. The apps downloaded from unofficial sources can be infected with malware or can become a gateway to the malware to enter your system. It is recommended to install only the Amazon-approved apps on your Firestick device.

By default, the app downloading from unknown sources is disabled in the Firestick. However, if in case it is enabled on your device, navigate to Settings -> Developer Options -> Apps from Unknown Sources to turn it OFF.

Ensure the Device is equipped with Antimalware 

Installing antimalware on your every smart device is essential to ensure that malware stays away from them. The same goes for the Amazon Firestick. There are several antimalware available on the Amazon app store that you can install on your Firestick to keep it secure from the malware programs. Do not try to install antimalware from other sources.

Another thing to note is since the Fire TV stick is connected to a network, it is a possibility that it may get malware infection from the other devices connected to the same network. So make sure that all the devices associated with the same network are equipped with the security solution.

Use a VPN

When you use the Amazon Firestick on the public networks, you expose your privacy to the infiltrators as they can easily access your browsing information, login credentials, the videos you are streaming, and much more on the public WiFi networks.

First of all, it is NOT recommended to use public WiFi networks for safety purposes. However, if there is an urgency to use the public networks, never use them without the VPN shield. The Virtual Private Network or VPN encrypts the Fire TV stick internet connection and shields the sensitive information from reaching the infiltrators.

Again, do not install the VPN from an unknown source and use only the Amazon app store for downloading the VPN on your Firestick.

Alternatively, you can also install the VPN on your WiFi router to protect every device on the network.

Fire TV Stick Malware Infection Symptoms

If your Firestick is misbehaving and you are unsure what the issue is, you can check for the following symptoms to know whether it is infected with malware. 

  • Your Fire TV Stick would become extremely slow and sluggish. Especially if cryptojacking malware has taken over your system, it will use your device’s maximum computation power for mining, so there would be very little processing power remains for running other services.
  • When your Firestick suddenly start freezing frequently and restarts in the middle of the streaming
  • If your Firestick is heating up unnaturally, there is probably some hidden processes running in the background.
  • Another clear indication is the appearance of random apps on the device. If you see some apps that you don’t remember installing on the device, this is probably because of the malware attack. The appearance of a ‘Test’ app with the Android icon indicates the presence of ADB.miner crypto-virus.

What to do when Firestick get infected with Malware?

If you suspect your Amazon Fire TV stick is infected with malware, you can perform the following measures to control it.

  • Disconnect it from the network.
  • Run the full device antimalware scan to detect and remove the virus.
  • If the problem persists, resetting the device can help. It would restore the Firestick to its factory settings.
Do I need Antivirus for Firestick?

Since Amazon Fire TV Stick is an Android-based device, it is prone to malware attacks. Therefore, it is essential to keep installed a robust antivirus or antimalware program on the Firestick.

Should ADB Debugging be on Firestick?

NO, ADB debugging should always be kept OFF until not in use. With ADB debugging turned ON, the intruder just needs to be on the same network and know the device’s IP address to infiltrate it.

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