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Customer Discussions > Kindle forum

Fire OS 5 - No full device encryption.


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Showing 1-25 of 254 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 21, 2016 8:27:09 PM PST
MrJohnUK says:
The Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 ships with Fire OS 4 and is marketed at non-casual home users end enterprise users, with its high performance and hardware based full device encryption. Encryption provides additional security in case your device is lost or stolen to protect sensitive data. It received its last Fire OS 4 update to version 4.5.5.1 in January 2016.

I bought a HDX 8.9 32GB and a HDX 8.9 64GB in November 2015. Until February 2016, I would have given them 5-star reviews. At this time an update to Fire OS 5 became available. This removes support for full device encryption. Amazon suggest not updating the device. However, tablets and smart phones are pocket computers, and need to be regularly updated like PC's and laptops to avoid security vulnerabilities.

Phones and tablets contain a lot of personal information. Since devices can get lost or stolen, and easily get into the hands of criminals, not encrypting a device can put you at risk of identity theft. Online accounts can after all, be reset with access to your email credentials. Enterprise users such as businesses and organisations, who hold sensitive information are at even more risk.

Now I know that lower end devices can take huge performance hits with full device encryption enabled, and Amazon's latest tablets are budget devices. But is it not unreasonable of Amazon to remove the option of it - you don't have to use it. After all, all Android devices I have bought in the last few years have this option.

I now have four options:
1. Stay on Fire OS 4, and risk being screwed by the next Android security vulnerability.
2. Upgrade to Fire OS 5, and risk being screwed if my device is lost or stolen.
3. Buy another device.
4. Install a custom firmware.

None of which are desirable.

Posted on Feb 21, 2016 8:32:21 PM PST
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Posted on Feb 24, 2016 6:03:05 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 24, 2016 6:03:54 AM PST
beekalmer says:
I agree, I have this same concern. It means I will no longer be able to my keep corporate email (exchange active sync) on my Fire HDX 8.9. Big downside!! I am shocked that such an important feature like encryption is being left behind. No more Amazon tablets for me.

Posted on Feb 24, 2016 12:43:35 PM PST
GWB_EAB says:
So I'm not alone in my concerns. Like you, I will no longer be able to keep my business email (exchange active sync) on my Kindle as our institution requires that encryption be used. I cannot believe Amazon just 'deleted' this critical feature. So I'm faced with no OS updates or no email - both poor option. Added insult, have to do a backup and factory reset to get the update if I choose that route - another poor option and much unnecessary work. I've been a Kindle user for 6 yrs and I have been completely satisfied up until now. Amazon - completely unacceptable, I am disappointed.

Posted on Feb 24, 2016 12:48:19 PM PST
J. Donahue says:
The Amazon Fire is first and foremost a media consumption device, meant to interface with your Amazon media selections.

Any other features, like the ones described in this thread, were previously available only until Amazon decided what was best to develop for future versions. What you speak of as a "critical" feature may not have been intended to stay with the Fire forever.

The Amazon Fire was never meant to be used in a corporate or business environment. There are other devices that are made for that purpose, similar to a Samsung or Apple product.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2016 3:00:04 PM PST
Jazzy_Jeff says:
Still, encryption is pretty important on any device with personal information. I encrypt all of my computing devices except for my Kindle reader of course but that does run Linux.

Posted on Feb 24, 2016 3:32:54 PM PST
beekalmer says:
Exactly!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2016 10:08:25 AM PST
DrXenos says:
Who cared what was "intended"? Scotch-guard was never intended as a stain-repellant. Silly pudding was originally intended to remove marks from wallpaper. People will use the products they've PAID for as they see fit.

Posted on Mar 3, 2016 10:35:11 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 3, 2016 10:43:34 AM PST
Gerby says:
I find this most recent move incredibly customer unfriendly. Regardless of whether you see the Fire as simply an Amazon front end or as a full featured table there is personal information stored on the device. That information is now accessible to malicious actors if the device is lost or stolen. In an era where devices store information on everything from browsing habits to bank information it's nearly unthinkable for a company to deliberately remove the one feature that can protect a customer from identity theft if their device is lost or stolen.

I'll be investigating custom firmwares to maintain my data security going forward and will be warning friends and family of the risk these devices present.

Posted on Mar 3, 2016 10:39:46 AM PST
Wing Wong says:
Huh... So... Amazon is telling us that they don't want us to buy or use their devices? What?

So... Amazon just removed a layer of protection on a device that has the ability to spend my real money?

Seems like Amazon's response to the Apple/FBI issue is to roll over, expose the belly of its customers, and call it a day. Good job, Amazon. Good job.

Posted on Mar 3, 2016 10:43:13 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 3, 2016 10:44:42 AM PST
Aaron E. says:
My choice here is to "vote with my wallet". I will NOT be updating my current Kindle devices nor will I be purchasing any future Kindle product until full device encryption is supported. Very customer unfriendly.

-1 Amazon

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2016 10:44:39 AM PST
**Meya** says:
Amazon said they backed Apple.

This is a total contradiction. And a crappy move as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2016 10:45:10 AM PST
That is true. But, if they are using it in a way that was never advertised and never intended to be used they have no grounds to complain that it stopped being able to be used for that purpose. If you used your Jetta as a drag racer you have no grounds to complain if they lowered the acceleration and top speed so that you can't use it that way any more.

With that generalization out of the way we can talk about specifics. If a person buys a new device with OS 5 then they would have no grounds to complain. But... if they had a previous OS4 device then they would have a little wiggle room to be able to complain. Those devices actually were sold as Enterprise capable devices. Since 2012 Amazon has been testing the grounds of the Fire being Enterprise ready. They added full device encryption, enterprise WiFi connectivity and VPN. Apparently that didn't do so well for them as they have ended Enterprise capabilities and the entire Enterprise program with the introduction of the new devices. Unfortunately that has had the, probably, unintended side effect of older devices being upgraded to the new OS losing that capability. Which is probably the main reason they introduced a way to downgrade back to OS4 and to lock that downgraded device to that OS so no future OS5 upgrades would be pushed to it.

Now, the reason I say "a little wiggle room to be able to complain" is because everyone who buys and uses a Fire agrees to the Amazon.com Condition of Use which state that Amazon can end services and/or device capabilities at any time with no warning and that they can upgrade software on devices at any time with no warning. So anyone who buys and uses an Amazon device, and who uses Amazon.com, should know and expect that capabilities and features all across Amazon and it's devices can come and go at will at any time with or without warning and you agreed to that.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2016 10:51:51 AM PST
Wing Wong says:
They created an app store front. They provided functionality to connect email and message systems. Their intent is for people to use their device over other devices.

They _could_ have implemented this as an optional mobile device profile policy thing that an enterprise could define and enforce. But instead, they just made a blanket change.

Having people locked down to the older OS version is basically saying it's a stop-gap until people buy a new device when the newer content/apps/etc. won't work anymore because newer OS features become dependencies.

Sure, the EULA/TOS grants them the right to do this. But it says alot about Amazon's stance on the Apple/FBI matter.

But I agree... it's a consumer's choice. And as a consumer, I'm choosing to no longer support Amazon's portable devices.

This has me wondering whether or not their enterprise AWS S3 service isn't going to be subject to this kind of "let the government see what's inside" thought process.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2016 11:12:44 AM PST
J. Donahue says:
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Posted on Mar 3, 2016 11:24:10 AM PST
lautre says:
WTF AMAZON are you kidding me ? screw you.

Posted on Mar 3, 2016 11:26:18 AM PST
When I first heard rumors of amazon dropping encryption thought is it April fools already, you've got to be kidding me. Sadly this is no joke :(

We buy new kindles every other year, in all we have 7 or 8 of them.

I too am no longer choosing to support Amazon's portable devices, sadly, this also has me questioning other services offered by amazon as well.

For years I have put my faith in Amazon and now they have let me down.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2016 11:26:45 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 3, 2016 11:30:41 AM PST
Actually is says nothing about Amazon's stance on the Apple/FBI matter since that issue has nothing to do with encryption and what the FBI is asking for is already available for all Android devices and has been since day 1 (called a device administrator application). In fact it says nothing about their stance on encryption because we have no idea why they dropped it. As far as we know it could be because it is poorly designed and easy to break. After all, an encryption scheme that can be broken by simply resetting the device isn't really a very well designed one in my book. (in Lollipop if you upgrade a device that wasn't previously encrypted and then turn on encryption it is disabled upon a factory reset. This leave all the data on the device unencrypted and open for discovery with data recovery tools .. this is a warning on Google's developer page concerning the encryption and quite a few people have noticed that their phones first unencrypt when they do a factory reset). Not to mention the fact that Android encryption was found to be fairly easy to crack using a process that recovers the device encryption key from RAM, that it uses the login password/code for it's key (which mean you are all but open if you use a passcode instead of a password), and a device administrator application can also be used to pull the key from an encrypted device.

It sounds nice from a marketing standpoint to say "hey our device is encrypted".. but when that encryption is relatively easy to break and has a heavy processing hit (esp on lower end devices) it could be a choice a company has to make. Though in general I agree that its probably better to just leave it as an option and let the users decide if they want a slower device with just a tiny bit more security.

To be honest, if you want a secure device you should be buying an iOS device. Their devices are far more secure from an encryption standpoint than most Android devices. A lot of that has to do with the full disk encryption being hardware based instead of software based and doesn't rely on the device passcode.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2016 11:29:34 AM PST
J. Donahue says:
Thanks for letting us know.

C'ya

Posted on Mar 3, 2016 12:18:34 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 3, 2016 12:21:51 PM PST
As a network security guy, I was looking at the FireTV and echo products, now I won't. These devices have personal sensitive information on them. Including your amazon password. I guess, it's to other harden devices for me. Not only that, having no encryption makes it easier for hackers to compromise your and hack into your personal lives. Your video and mic can now be used for nefarious purposes.

Posted on Mar 3, 2016 12:29:46 PM PST
Will not be buying another Fire device as long as this is the case. And I'm going to wipe my current one. I'll be buying your competitors products from now on.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2016 12:34:27 PM PST
Amazon does not store your password anywhere on any device.

Posted on Mar 3, 2016 12:35:55 PM PST
Robert says:
Consider the one I bought last month my first and last. It is a tablet, pure and simple. They include a browser, email software, and other tools that go beyond simply reading books (which is does poorly due to low resolution) and watching movies (which it does well).

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2016 12:43:46 PM PST
J. Donahue says:
Since we're all customers here, you're not telling Amazon anything.

Amazon doesn't make company decisions based on internet forum posts.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2016 12:44:12 PM PST
J. Donahue says:
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  77
Total posts:  254
Initial post:  Feb 21, 2016
Latest post:  Mar 23, 2016

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