Amazon Has Disabled Encryption On Fire OS

Users of Amazon mobile devices such as the Kindle Fire tablet have been urged to up their security protection after a worrying gap was found in the company’s software.

The online retail giant has been criticised after security researchers found that the latest update to its Fire OS software does away with the encryption of locally stored data, leaving users at risk of having personal information or password details stolen.

Any users who upgrade products including the Kindle Fire, Fire Phone, Amazon Fire HD, or Amazon Fire TV Stick to Fire OS 5 will now have their local information stored in plain text, where it is extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Unclear

Quite why Amazon is doing away with encryption is unclear, as the process is a widely-known and used practice for nearly every single online company in the world.

The company says that users do not need to upgrade to Fire OS 5 immediately, but that doing so will allow them to get the most out of their products.

An Amazon spokesperson told TechWeekEurope that, ”in the Autumn when we released Fire OS 5, we removed some enterprise features that we found customers weren’t using.”

“All Fire tablets’ communication with Amazon’s cloud meet our high standards for privacy and security including appropriate use of encryption.”

It has been speculated that Amazon’s move is linked to wider discussions surrounding the responsibility of device makers and software developers to allow certain organisations, such as law enforcement, access to all information created by users.

Apple has been engaged in a month-long struggle with the FBI concerning unlocking the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists, Syed Rizwan Farook, arguing that the move violates its constitutional rights and that law enforcement authorities are seeking “dangerous powers”.

However, the company has today received a significant declaration of support from major technology firms including the likes of Amazon, Box, Cisco, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nest, Pinterest, Slack, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Yahoo, as well as Intel and AT&T, plus others.

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Mike Moore

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

View Comments

  • That's another device I cant trust anymore. Between windows 10 not being allowed anywhere near the office networks and now this. I will be back to hard copy books and notepads soon.

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