Amazon is reportedly in the process of rolling out a new update to its line of Fire TV OS devices and one of the changes included in the update is designed to increase the security of the devices. The update is listed as version 188.8.131.52 and is understood to be now en route to a wide range of Fire-branded devices including the original Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, as well as the second-generation models, and also first-generation Element and Westinghouse Fire TV Edition TVs, according to AFTVNews.
On the surface, this update is designed to bring older Fire TV devices more in line with the likes of the newly-released Amazon Fire Cube, by adding the same updated Alexa interface. However, when digging further into the new update, it also seems to come with a fundamental change to the security settings, and in particular, the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) settings. Previously, when activating the ADB debugging option in settings, the system would ‘remember’ the permission and permit future ADB connections to take place without the need for further re-authorization. It is this point in particular that has now changed as once the update has been applied, device owners will be required to authorize an ADB connection on each connection attempt.
While this might seem like a more cumbersome approach compared to the device remembering a user's preference, it is understood this has been implemented as a means to stop attacks from occurring that take advantage of ADB-related vulnerabilities. In fact, this move has come in direct response to an attack of this sort that had already taken place. Back in February of this year a new cryptocurrency-mining malware (referred to as ADB.Miner) was spotted and understood to be affecting a variety of Android devices including TVs. By June of this year, a variant of the same malware worm was found to also be affecting Fire TV and TV Stick devices. Therefore, this update, with its changes to the ADB connection process will look to immediately remedy the issue by requiring user intervention each time a connection is made. For Fire TV device owners who never enable the ADB debugging feature, this change is unlikely to matter as much.