Google and Apple have recently implemented policies to help prevent cryptocurrency mining malware from running on the devices of unsuspecting users. Both have placed bans on any app or extension—Apple for all devices and Google for Chrome extensions—related to mining, even if the app is playing by the rules. This hasn’t stopped the malware developers from creating innovative ways to continue their operations, as it would appear that televisions are now capable of cryptocurrency mining.
According to a reports, Amazon Fire has become infested with a malware app called ADB.Miner. The app takes over the devices almost completely, reducing the processing speed to virtually zero. An infected device will also display the familiar green Android robot affectionately called by some Bugdroid.
The app is installed as “com.google.time.timer” and can only be found through unofficial channels. It cannot be installed unless Fire TV’s developer options are enabled. A complete description of the process can be found on the xda-developers website.
Fortunately, removing the malware isn’t complicated. There are several methods available, from using an application on Amazon app store called Total Commander, to performing a complete factory reset of the device. While using Total Commander is the easiest and won’t result in the loss of data, there are no guarantees that all traces of the malware will be removed. A factory reset is the most secure method, but will cause all data to be erased from the device.
To ensure that Fire TV devices cannot be infected, users should set “ADB debugging” and “Apps from Unknown Sources” to off in the system menu. Android devices ship with this setting disabled by default, so it will only be on if someone has changed them. It’s also important to mention that users should always only install from verified sources and scan apps before installation.
It’s difficult to avoid mining malware infections, but not impossible. However, as the Internet of Things continues to expand and become a part of everyday life, it’s possible that we could see the spread of malware without realizing it. Even some Internet service providers have been busted for injecting browser-based mining applications and spyware on their customers’ devices. It’s now more important than ever to be as vigilant as possible about what we install on our devices.
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