Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick Devices Struck Down by Cryptocurrency Mining Malware

Technology > Security

Cryptocurrency malware / Photo by: Wright Studio via Shutterstock


An anonymous hacker has reportedly spread the ADB.miner cryptocurrency mining malware on Amazon Fire TV devices to surreptitiously mine the monero digital coin using these gadgets. The malware was able to gain access to the said Amazon devices by taking advantage of the Android Debug Bridge, from which the malware was named. This feature is found on the Android mobile operating system and allows developers to communicate and remotely execute commands over the device without any authentication requirements, according to Michael Kan, reporting for PC Magazine. 

The Android Debug Bridge is usually inactive but is activated by the malware on Fire TV Sticks. Devices infected by the malware will have an app called “test” that repeatedly shows up as a white page and disrupts users’ media streaming as it starts searching for the digital currency. 

The malware does not affect all Amazon devices -- only those that have been sideloaded with questionable apps that can trigger the Android Debug Bridge feature. Also compromised by the malware are Amazon TV sets that have been modified to run on the Kodi open source media player. What makes the malware so pernicious is that it targets not just the Amazon Fire TV sets but any Android device that has the debug feature engaged.

British cybersecurity researcher Kevin Beaumont speculates that the malware was able to perpetrate itself among Android devices because some vendors were inadvertently shipping products with the debug feature enabled. Such a possibility will allow anybody to remotely access these devices in the root or administrator mode, and then install malware. 

The malware can be disabled by doing a factory reset on the affected Fire TV Stick device which can be done via the settings menu. Users need to make sure that the Android Debug Bridge is turned off once the reset has been done to prevent a possible re-infection.