It’s emerged that Amazon has disabled encryption on the latest version of Fire OS.
While the battle rages on between Apple and the FBI concerning encryption and user privacy, one other major tech company has been quietly undermining its own security measures.
Any data stored locally on Amazon Fire devices is now unprotected following a recent upgrade. If you shifted your Kindle Fire, Fire Phone (anyone?), Amazon Fire HD, or Amazon Fire TV Stick to Fire OS 5, you’re now completely open.
Were a malicious party to attack one of these Fire OS 5 devices, rather than the scramble of useless data that would normally come from a properly encrypted set-up, they would have uninhibited access to the data stored on it.
This stripping of Amazon’s on-device encryption was highlighted by Amazon forum member John G, and has since been picked up by a number of security industry and media sources.
It’s unclear why Amazon would choose to make its platform so vulnerable, but an Amazon spokesperson did tell The Verge that “When we released Fire OS 5, we removed some enterprise features that we found customers weren’t using.”
How basic security can be dismissed as an ‘enterprise feature,’ we’re not entirely sure.
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The only way Amazon users can get around this is to refuse the update, which is a temporary solution at best. Plus, remaining on old software comes with its own security hazards.
Amazon says that the decision to strip back this encryption feature was made in autumn of last year, so there’s no apparent link to the Apple vs FBI court case here.
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Would this news make you reconsider an Amazon Fire purchase? Let us know in the comments below.