How To Check The Amazon Firestick For Viruses Or Malware
Last Updated: January 21, 2020
Did you know the Amazon Firestick can get malware? That specific malware is circulating that turns your Firestick into a bitcoin miner? There is such a thing, which is why this tutorial will show you how to check the Amazon Firestick for viruses or malware.
The Amazon Firestick is an incredibly useful little device. It’s small, powerful, portable and can access TV shows and movies anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. So it’s a real shame when you realize someone has targeted Android with malware. As the Firestick is based on Android, it is as susceptible as other devices.
Viruses are less of a problem as nobody seems to be making them anymore. As we know of a specific malware threat to the Amazon Firestick, I’ll concentrate on that.
Spotting Firestick malware
The malware has been around a while. Called ADB.miner, it’s sole purpose is to use your Firestick to mine cryptocurrency. It was initially designed to take over phones and tablets and use the hardware resources to mine bitcoin. As the core of the Firestick is a modified version of Android, they are falling victim too.
Fortunately, the signs of malware, including ADB.miner are very easy to spot.
- Your Firestick slows down considerably during browsing and streaming. Menus run slow, apps take ages to open, streams constantly stutter. Everything you do on your Firestick takes much longer than usual.
- Your Firestick runs hotter than usual. Heat is a by product of processing. As ADB.miner is designed to use Android hardware to mine cryptocurrency, it will squeeze everything it can out of the Firestick. The result will be added heat.
- You see a test screen pop up with the green Android and the word test.
Testing your Firestick for Malware
There is a simple test you can do to see for sure whether your Firestick has the ADB.miner malware or just needs a little attention.
- Download and install Total Commander from the Amazon App Store onto your Firestick.
- Launch Total Commander and navigate to Installed Apps.
- Look for an app called Test.
If you see an app called Test, that’s the malware and your Firestick is infected. If you don’t see an app called Test, you may not be infected. Your Firestick just may need some housekeeping to free up space and clear out the trash.
Removing the ADB.miner malware from a Firestick
You have two options to remove the malware from a Firestick. You can use Total Commander to delete the files from the device or perform a factory reset. The first method should get the job done but there are no guarantees. The factory reset will clean your device but will also clear all your settings, apps and anything else you installed.
To delete the file:
- Follow the steps above for testing your Firestick for malware.
- Delete the app called Test and any associated files you find.
- Restart your Firestick and retest it.
- Navigate to Settings and Device.
- Turn ‘ADB debugging’ and ‘Apps from Unknown Sources’ off and leave them off.
Those two settings should only be enabled while you sideload APK files. Once installed, you should turn both settings off again. These are an essential protection against malware and unwanted apps.
Factory reset your Firestick:
- Navigate to Settings and Device on your Firestick.
- Select Reset to Factory Defaults.
- Confirm when prompted.
Remember, a factory reset will wipe the Firestick and everything you have installed on it. It will be returned to stock and you will have to set it up all over again.
The XDA forums have a post offering a modified malware file that switches a couple of key files within the malware. Rather than using up system resources to mine cryptocurrency, the malware does nothing. The files make it think it is doing something so won’t try to download itself again. This seems a clumsy way to tackle the malware but may be an alternative if you really don’t want to factory reset.
If you delete the file or perform a factory reset and make sure ADB debugging and Apps from Unknown Sources are turned off, the malware should not be able to install itself again.
The Apps from Unknown Sources is a file verification system that checks all files trying to install onto your Firestick. They check files are legit, that they are approved and don’t contain malware. It is not a malware scanner, more like an MD5 checker that talks to the Amazon App Store to see if files are permitted to install and the file being installed matches the file on the Amazon server.
Keep these two settings turned off and malware should have a much harder time landing on your Firestick.
If you do want to sideload apps, turn them both on, install your file and then remember to turn them off again. That way you get the freedom you want with the protection you need.