How safe is a firestick?

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Written By Dinu Sri

Dr H. T. D. S. Madusanka is an electronic expert with 10 years of experience, involved in the research and development of SMART HOME systems.

how safe is a firestick? Amazon firestick- like many other digital devices; is not entirely safe from cyber threats. However, you can protect it from cyberattacks following some easy protective measures. You can use a different Amazon account in your firestick device. Use an Ethernet instead of your home WiFi network. 

Can you be hacked through FireStick?

Back in 2019, a story broke out about some firestick devices hacked by a hacking tool used by crypto miners. But not all firestick devices were compromised. Only those with Kodi installed in them were vulnerable to the hack. Hackers used them as mining devices. 

But they did not collect any credit card information, just used those devices to mine cryptocurrencies. Firestick is not a device that has any graphics card capabilities. But the miners were desperate, I guess. 

When you install Kodi on your firestick you have to disable the basic protections and enable Android Debug Bridge or ADB. It sends back information to Android using 5555 port. This port remains open even if you do not use your firestick. It makes your device vulnerable. 

samsung smart tv
samsung smart tv

However, you can make your firestick device secure simply by disabling ADB. It will shut down 5555 port and, hackers won’t be able to sneak into your device. If you have ADB enabled on your device, follow these processes to disable them. 

  • Turn your firestick device and log in to your account. 
  • Go to firestick Home and hit Settings button. 
  • Now, select My Fire TV and click on it. 
  • Then go to Developer options.
  • Finally, select ADB Debugging and disable it. 

If ADB Debugging is already disabled, you have no worries. Watch this video to learn how to enable or disable ADB. 

Are Firesticks a security risk?

Like any other digital device, your Firestick has security risks as well. Any device connected to WiFi has a chance of being hacked. Hackers can use your WiFi network to sneak into your Firestick device. Installing a side-loaded app can pose a threat too. 

But the good thing is you can protect your device from hacking. There are some safeguards against these threats. You have to make sure you are availing them to protect your device. You can create safeguards in the following ways:

Use a Guest WiFi Network

Using a guest network instead of your original WiFi network is one way to protect your Firestick device from hacking. If you create a guest network- hackers will not find your Firestick device in your original WiFi network. It is good for organizations that have a strong firewall that restricts Firestick from running. Nowadays, you can easily create a guest network on your WiFi router. 

Use Different Amazon Account to Log In 

Create a different Amazon account and use it to log in to your Firestick. You do not have to put any credit card details in this account. If someone hacks your system, they will not get your credit card information. You can only use this account on your Firestick. Most importantly, you can use one Amazon account on many Firestick devices. 

Update Your Firestick Operating System 

You should regularly update your Firestick operating system. Amazon pushes updates, security patches, fixes, etc. on firestick OS regularly. Nonetheless, you can manually check it in following ways: 

  • First, go to Firestick Home and select Settings. 
  • Then click on My Fire TV and select About
  • Now, check your current OS; hit Check for Updates button. 
  • Finally, update OS if there is a new version available. 

Click here to see how you can check for updates for your Firestick OS. 

Use Parental Control 

Parental controls allow you to lock your Firestick remote so that anyone with it cannot launch any app. You can set parental controls in the following ways:

  • Go to Fire TV Home and select Settings. 
  • Then select Preferences and click on Parental Controls. 
  • Finally, enter your PIN to enable Parental Controls. 

Use Ethernet Instead of WiFi Network 

You can use an Ethernet cable to connect your device to the internet instead of a WiFi network. Using an Ethernet cable will disable WiFi from your device, making it secure from cyber threats. 

Do I need antivirus for FireStick?

A couple of years ago, there were reports of FireStick devices being hacked. So, it is evident that someone can hack it. It can be affected by malware or viruses. So, it needs protection against all these. An antivirus can protect your FireStick from cyber threats.

There are many antivirus apps available on Amazon store. You can choose any of them and install them on your Firestick device. Follow these steps:

  • At first, go to Settings from FireStick Home and select My Fire TV. 
  • Then select Developer Options and click on Install Unknown apps.   
  • Next, go to Fire TV Home again and click on Find button. 
  • Then select Search 
  • and type Downloader in search bar and hit when the result appears. 
  • Next, click on Download button and wait for it to install. 
  • Now open Downloader and insert your Antivirus APK URL in its URL box. 
  • Finally, wait for the app to install on your device. 

Can someone watch my FireStick?

Hackers can watch your FireStick if they hack it. In that case, they can see your FireStick and watch what you are watching on your device. They will have all your search results and your preferences. They might also get your credit card information.  

Someone can watch your FireStick without hacking too. If you share your Amazon account password with them, they can access your FireStick. They can view all your content from FireStick. They will be able to order anything available on Amazon store too. 

So, if you do not want someone to have access to your FireStick, do not share your password with anyone. Do not log in to your Amazon account on someone else’s device. It will give them full access to your account. 

Do fire TVS listen to you?

The answer is yes- Fire TVs listen to you. They monitor all your activities. Some researches show that amazon uses trackers on most of its Fire TV channels. They collect and gather various information about you.  

Amazon does it for many reasons. One of them is so they can know your preferences and watch habits. With this information, they recommend movies and shows you will like. They can sell this information to another company for a fee. 

There is evidence that Fire TVs not only collect information about your habits and preferences. They collect information like your device’s MAC address, your WiFi name, device’s serial numbers, etc. 

The amount of data they collect is vast and, you do not want them to have all your personalized information stored somewhere and sold to other parties. You can minimize the amount of data they collect by taking some measures. 

Prevent Tracking App Usage 

You can stop your Fire TV from tracking your app usage. Follow these processes to do so

  • At first, go to Fire TV Home and select Settings. 
  • Then go to Preferences and choose Privacy Settings. 
  • Now, choose Collect App and Over-the-Air Usage Data. 
  • Finally, hit Turn Off button to disable it. 

Now, your Fire TV device won’t track your app usage information. 

Prevent Collecting Data 

Prevent your Fire TV from collecting all your data in the following ways: 

  • Go to Fire TV Home and select Settings. 
  • Then hit Preferences and select Privacy Settings from there. 
  • Next, turn off both Device Usage Data and Collect App Usage Data. 
  • Finally, return to Preferences and turn off Data Monitoring. 

Is Alexa always listening on Firestick?

Amazon claims that Alexa does not listen to you all the time. But we all know the truth. There is a rumor- that Alexa can hear you- even when you do not want it. It also can record your conversations. 

But you can disable Alexa from your Firestick. To do it, go to the Alexa website and log in to your account. Then deregister your Firestick device from your Alexa account. Alexa will no longer run on your Firestick device.

Final Word

Almost all digital devices can suffer cyber security threats. Your firestick is not out of it. But, after reading my article, I’m sure now you can protect your Firestick device from hacking and your data from your firestick.

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