Can An Amazon TV Fire Stick Be Hacked?

Can someonereally hack a Firestick? Is this modest device really worth hacking in the firstplace? There have been rumors and reports about the Amazon TV Fire Stick beinghacked for over a year with some instances still being reported twelve monthsafter the initial hack was announced. So what’s the deal? Is the Amazon TV FireStick still being hacked?


The initialstory broke last year when reports said that a botnet was slowly taking oversome Amazon TV Fire Sticks. Those that had Kodi installed on them madethemselves vulnerable to a crypto miner hack called ADB.Miner. The hack didn’twant access to your account or credit card, it wanted to use your Firestick asa crypto currency miner.

It’simportant to know that if you have not jailbroken your Amazon TV Fire Stick, itis not susceptible to this hack. Only if you have installed Kodi or otherwise jailbrokenyour Amazon Firestick are you vulnerable.

This all seemed a little desperate at the time. The Amazon TV Fire Stick doesn’t have anything like the power of the average graphics card or crypto miner PC but they were being taken over by the botnet. Every little helps I guess.

Amazon TV Fire Stick hacking

The vanillaAmazon TV Fire Stick is fairly secure. However, when you install Kodi, you haveto disable the basic protections that come with it. It is this process thatlets ADB.Miner in.

For Kodi toinstall, you need to enable Android Debug Bridge (ADB). As part of thebridge, the app opens port 5555 so it can feed back to Android about what’s goingon. This port remains open even when you’re not using your Firestick. It isthis port that is leaving the Amazon TV Fire Stick vulnerable.

Anyone witha laptop with port scanning software and the skill to use it can theoreticallyscan for open ports on any device and take a look see. Usually, the Firestick willnot leave ports open but ADB leaves port 5555 open which is susceptible toscanning and therefore, to ADB.Miner.

You can seethe scale of the problem over at Shodan.Type ‘Android Debug Bridge’ into the search box at the top to see just how manydevices are exposed in what parts of the world. At the time of writing, over10,000 Firesticks where currently running with port 5555 open!

Ifyou want to see just how easy it is to find a vulnerable Firestick, this pageon Hackaday walks you through the entire process. It is disturbingly simple.

Secure your Firestick fromhacking

Fortunately,making your Firestick more secure is just a matter of disabling ADB again. Thenthe port is closed and hackers will have to work much harder to get into yourhardware.

  1. Power up your Firestick and log in ifrequired.
  2. Select Settings and Device.
  3. Select Developer Options.
  4. Select ADB Debugging and disable it.

That’s allyou need to do to make your Amazon TV Fire Stick more secure.

Arguably,if you’re running your Firestick at home behind a firewall and have decent networksecurity, you’re not that vulnerable. It’s still a vulnerability though and ADBDebugging isn’t something the average user needs enabled on their device.

You can install Kodi or jailbreak your Firestick and run it happily. Just turn ADB off again once you’re finished.

ADB Debugging

ADB Debuggingis a part of Android, not of the Firestick. So theoretically, any device thathas it enabled is potentially vulnerable. That could be your phone, Chromebook,Android Play in your car and any other device you may have that runs Android.It’s definitely something worth checking for.

That said,to enable ADB Debugging on an Android phone, you need to be able to find thesetting before you can use it. The Firestick makes it very easy to jailbreak itbut on phones and other devices it is much more difficult. You have to dig intothe Android settings menu on your phone, then tap a setting seven times toenable Developer Mode, then go back into the menu to enable ADB Debugging.

An AmazonTV Fire Stick can be hacked and can be used as a cryptocurrency miner. It’s nota massive risk if you’re within a secure network but it’s an extra vulnerabilitynobody wants to leave open. If you have jailbroken your Firestick and areenjoying Kodi, just take a minute to disable ADB Debugging. It will save yourFirestick being used to make someone a little money and ensure all its hardwarecan be dedicated to doing what it does best, providing a fantastic viewingexperience!