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TV & streaming

5 Amazon Fire TV security and privacy settings you need to change

Worried about hacking? You should be. Any device that connects to W-iFi, including smartphones, computers, tablets or any other smart tech, is susceptible to being compromised by cybercriminals.

You probably have a few safeguards in place to secure these devices, which will help cut down on potential compromises. But are you safeguarding all of the devices that you need to?

One type of tech that’s easy to overlook is streaming devices — including the popular Fire TV from Amazon. There have been cybersecurity attacks on streaming platforms recently. Millions of Pluto TV users had their records leaked in one recent breach. That’s not the only security issue you need to worry about with Fire TV, either. Here’s what you need to know.

Security risks of Fire TV

Are you aware that your Fire TV is monitoring you? Last year, researchers from Princeton University and the University of Chicago released a report noting that tons of tracking is going on behind the scenes of your Amazon Fire TV device. According to the report, more than 89% of the channels offered by Fire TV contain easily spottable trackers.

These trackers collect information about everything from your viewing habits to preferences. It’s done for several reasons. It can help your Fire TV more easily recommend shows for you to watch, or that data about your viewing habits can be sold and reported to third parties for a fee.

Your Fire TV isn’t just watching your viewing habits, either. According to the report, Fire TV trackers also gather data on unique identifiers like device serial numbers and IDs, Wi-Fi network names and MAC addresses, which are unique identifiers.

These trackers also help dictate what personalized, targeted ads you’re going to see when you flip on the TV and stream a show. Just like Facebook and Instagram targeted ads, Fire TV aims to collect enough data that they’re showing you ads you may actually be interested in.

None of this is ideal. Being tracked by your streaming device isn’t just annoying — it’s also intrusive. It doesn’t have to happen, though. You can stop your Fire TV from monitoring you by changing a few settings.

Data collection isn’t the only issue to be aware of. As we mentioned above, hacking is also a risk when using Fire TV. There have been some recent cybersecurity attacks on streaming platforms, like the attack on Pluto TV. That attack led to a massive data leak that contained private information from millions of users.

This isn’t just an inconvenience; it’s dangerous. Hackers can make a huge profit off selling your personal information on the Dark Web. In turn, anyone who wants to buy personal information from these types of leaks can get it for about $2,000 on the Dark Web. Tap or click here to see how much your accounts and data can sell for.

If this happens to your Fire TV, there’s a ton of information at risk. Not only is your personal information up for grabs from your account, but so are the recordings that occurred when you used Alexa to find shows or apps on your Fire TV.

These are just a couple of the potential issues you face when using Fire TV. Luckily, there are some quick fixes you can make by changing your settings in your account, including:

1. Delete your Wi-Fi password saved by your Fire TV

You don’t want your Wi-Fi password saved by Fire TV in the cloud. It leaves your network open to hackers if they get into your account.

To delete Wi-Fi passwords saved to Amazon using your web browser:

  1. Open Amazon.com on your browser
  2. Go to Manage Your Content and Devices
  3. Click the Preferences tab
  4. Under Saved Wi-Fi Passwords, click Delete

2. Stop your Fire TV from snooping on your data

To keep your Fire TV from monitoring your data and usage habits:

  1. Open the Settings menu on your Fire TV Stick or Fire TV
  2. Click Preferences > Privacy Settings
  3. Toggle off the Device Usage Data and Collect App Usage Data
  4. Return to the previous screen
  5. Click Data Monitoring and then Turn Off Data Monitoring

3. Enable two-step verification for a more secure account

If you enable two-step verification in your Amazon account, you’ll shore up any loose ends or easy entrances via your password. You’ll have to do this in your Amazon account, but it will activate 2FA for your Fire TV when you do so.

To enable Two-Step Verification:

  1. Click here to open Two-Step Verification Settings
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions

Related: Tap or click here to see how to create stronger passwords

4. Stop Fire TV from tracking your app usage

  1. On your Fire TV device, choose Settings > Preferences > Privacy Settings
  2. Choose Collect App and Over-the-Air Usage Data
  3. Tap Turn Off

5. Stop advertisers on Fire TV from tracking you

  1. On your Fire TV device, choose Settings > Preferences > Privacy Settings
  2. To reset your advertising ID, which will wipe clean any information advertisers have on you right now, you’ll:
    • Highlight the Your Advertising ID setting and then press the Select button on your Fire TV remote
  3. To turn off ad tracking completely:
    • Highlight the Interest-Based Ads setting and then press the Select button to turn the setting to Off

That’s it. You’re Fire TV is now secure and you can confidently stream until your heart desires.

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