How to Check Your Fire Stick or Cube for Malware and Viruses
In 2018, rumors began to circulate regarding the Amazon TV and Fire Stick devices’ susceptibility to malware and virus attacks. The main culprit was a crypto-mining worm called “ADB.miner,” which is known to attack Android smartphones and tablets. Regardless, there are all sorts of malware on the internet that target Android devices that could easily infect your Fire TV Stick or Fire TV Cube. Therefore, it is essential that you check your Firestick or Firecube for malware and viruses regularly. So, how do you do it? This article explains common symptoms of a malware infection, how to find the infection, how to remove malware, and how to remain protected on your Fire TV Stick or Fire TV Cube.
Common Symptoms of a Fire Stick Infection
For the purposes of this article, we’ll take a closer look at what happens when your Fire Stick is infected by “ADB.miner” malware, or any other malware for that matter. The symptoms are pretty much the same.
First, Fire Stick becomes really slow; it takes a long time to load content, browse through menus, or do basic searches. In this case, a general recommendation is to check for firmware updates and inspect your Wi-Fi speed. If everything is okay there, chances are your Fire Stick is Infected.
Aside from sluggish performance, a Fire Stick may crash, freeze in the middle of playback, or restart itself out of the blue. ADB.miner is designed to corrupt the full computing power of your Fire Stick and may cause the device to overheat. A simple touch test is enough to figure out there’s a problem.
Important Note: If a Test app with an Android icon appears on your Fire Stick, your device has been infected by ADB.miner.
First Steps to Take before Scanning Your Firestick/Cube for Malware
As indicated, you should first check for firmware/software updates because outdated OS can also slow down your Fire Stick.
Access Settings from the Menu bar and move right to the Device option. Choose About, then Software Version, and select “Check for System Updates”.
If available, download and install the update, restart your device and check if the problem has gone. When a Fire Stick is infected, it’s almost impossible to reach the System Updates window and run the update. Menu-hopping becomes annoyingly slow and it takes forever to download the files.
To take Wi-Fi out of the equation, perform a speed test and see how it runs on your other gadgets. Should there be a problem with your Wi-Fi, it’s something you can fix with a simple modem/router restart.
How to Scan Your Fire Stick/Cube for Malware
Amazon Fire Stick comes with a built-in option to scan for malware and viruses to get rid of them. However, it might not be turned on by default, so here’s how to activate the protection.
Access Settings, navigate right to the Device menu and select “Developer Options” under Device. Both “ADB debugging” and “Apps from Unknown Sources” need to be turned on. These options automatically track down malware and remove them from Fire Stick.
How to Reset Your Amazon Fire Stick or Fire Cube
If the native scanning software fails, you may need to restore your Fire Stick back to factory settings. This action erases all the data and reinstalls the software from scratch. Afterwards, you’ll need to set up your Fire Stick again, but this is one of the best ways to get rid of stubborn viruses.
Again, navigate to Device, go down to the bottom of the menu, and select “Reset to Factory defaults”. Confirm your choice in the pop-up window and the device will reset in a few minutes. However, you might be able to avoid doing a hard reset.
Use Third-Party Apps to Check Fire TV Stick/Cube for Malware
Third-party malware tools provide the means to identify any potential risks within apps on your Fire TV Stick or Fire Cube. Functionality is limited for most security apps due to the Firestick not being a native Android OS with full Google functionality. But many deliver the essential processes, with or without a fully functional graphical user interface (GUI.)
To obtain malware-removal software, you first need to install the Downloader app.
How to Install Downloader on Fire TV Stick/Fire Cube
- Go to “Search” on your Firestick, then type “downloader,” then select the “Downloader” thumbnail from the list.
- Choose “Download” to save the installation to your Firestick or Fire Cube.
- When finished downloading, select “Open” to launch the installation process.
- Select “Allow” when asked to access photos, media, and files.
- Select “OK” on the “Quick Start Guide.”
How to install VirusTotal on Fire TV Stick/Fire Cube
VirusTotal is not an anti-virus/anti-malware app, but it reports infected apps so you can remove them manually. VirusTotal uses more than 70 antivirus scanners and URL/domain blocklisting services, and queries many vendor databases to obtain updated information on infections and potential risks, and obtains antivirus solutions such as blocklists from various security providers.
Note: VirusTotal supports third-party developers. The app used here is a mobile app developed/submitted by Funnycat in the Play Store, and it is supported by VirusTotal.
- Launch the “Downloader” app you previosuly installed.
- On the “Home” screen, enter “bit.ly/virtota” in the URL box and select “Go.”
- Scroll down the webpage and select “Download” to get the TotalVirus APK file.
- In the Android installation screen that appears, select “Install.”
- Upon installation success, choose “Done,” not “Open.” You need to proceed before opening the app.
- The Downloader “Status Screen” appears. Choose “Delete” to remove the APK install file to save valuable space. Ignore the “Install” option—it’s alread installed.
- In the confirmation window, choose “Delete” to move forward with the APK removal process.
- Return to the Home Screen and select the “Application Launcher.”
- Select the “Virus Total” thumbnail.
- Press the “Select” button on your firestick remote to launch the “Scan” option—it won’t be highlighted due to functionality limits but will activate.
- A popup appears stating that the analytics part of the app can’t run without Google Play Services. Select “OK” to continue.
- VirusTotal scans your apps and displays a status list. On the left side of each entry, a green “checkmarked circle” appears for safe apps and a red “X” displays for potentially infected apps.
- Return to the “Home” screen and delete/uninstall any apps that appeared as a threat.
How to Use “Filelinked” app on Fire TV Stick/Fire Cube
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Once the Downloader installs, type “http://get.filelinked.com” and select “Go” to get the APK. After Filelinked installs, select “Open” from the bottom right corner and enter the code to run the app (the code should be 22222222). Then, you’ll be required to provide a PIN, which is usually 0000, and there’s also a link where you can get the PIN.
When you unlock Filelinked, download and install Norton Security and CM Lite. In addition to these apps, you’ll also need Mouse Toggle (for Firesticks) and Set Orientation, to help you use the anti-virus apps. Make sure to enable/run Set Orientation and Mouse Toggle apps before you scan for viruses.
Run Norton Security, set it up, and perform a scan. If the software finds infected files, choose to remove them from your device. Then you can run CM Lite to free up some space on your Fire Stick and get rid of other corrupted files.
Note: All suggested apps are available via “Filelinked” and might look a bit weird when started up due to the lack of Google Play Services and a native Android OS. But “Set Orientation” and “Mouse Toggle” quickly fix the appearance so you won’t struggle to use the apps.
In closing, it can be challenging to use anti-malware and anti-virus software on a Firestick or Fire cube due to the non-native Android OS. However, you don’t need to worry too much about device infections unless you install unverified software and APKs. But even if there’s a problem, you should be able to fix it fast.