Safety and security probably aren’t your top priorities when it comes to entertainment devices. That, of course, is what Amazon’s Fire tablets are, but there are many threats, both found online and embedded in rogue files. Staying clear of them is the only way to avoid unpleasant situations.
You might think Amazon Fire devices, popular tablets that give you a quite a bang for your buck, are quite safe to use. Their operating system – FireOS – is a secure, custom version of Android developed by Amazon.
However, even if it is considered to be secure, should you nevertheless use antivirus on your Amazon tablet? There are certainly some good reasons to do that.
Are Amazon Fire tablets immune from viruses?
Amazon Fire tablets, thanks to their FireOS software, are considered by many to be one of the more secure mobile devices.
There are multiple reasons for this. First, FireOS is indeed based on Android, but it is heavily customised by Amazon. This results in a closed system, where you can only install apps from the Amazon Appstore.
This limitation also means that all the apps there are safe to use, as they have to be verified by Amazon to appear in the app store. So you don’t have to worry about malware or other viruses being embedded into the apps from official sources.
We know, however, that no system is perfect, and malware still could get past Amazon’s checks. But even if something bad did make its way into your Fire tablet, it doesn’t have free rein to access other files on the tablet or hardware such as the camera and microphone. When you install an app, it has to ask permission for any of these things. This is why it’s always a good idea to read pop-ups carefully so you don’t accidentally grant access.
However, you have to remember that the app store is not the only source of viruses or other dangerous software. Threats also lurk on the internet, and can even infect your device by clicking on an exploitative link online.
Why do I need to be careful then?
One way that criminals can target anyone on the internet, regardless of the device they’re using is social engineering. Put simply, it means they’ll try to trick you into handing over your details without realising.
A fairly well-known technique is the ‘phishing’ email, which will contain a message that persuades you to give information – maybe your bank details – in order to get something in return. It could be a refund, a tax rebate or even the classic “I’ve been left millions and I want to give it to you” scam.
There are of course ways that you can protect yourself manually. It’s important to stay safe when clicking unknown links, and here you can check how to make sure they are genuine. It’s also good practice to scan unknown files, as they might open a way to infect your device.
Do I need antivirus on an Amazon Fire tablet?
These manual scans and good browsing practices should, in general, make your devices safe and secure. Paired with Amazon’s closed, protected system, they might be just secure enough.
However, sometimes remembering all these good practices and acting on them might be a bit jarring. That’s where a good antivirus solution could be helpful. It is not required, but active, live protection sometimes is just much more convenient.
Amazon Appstore offers a variety of antivirus solutions that you might want to download and deploy on your device. Just remember that you should not get them from untrusted sources, and it’s best to pick a well-known, reputable solution. Here are some of the most recommended ones for Amazon Fire tablets (in alphabetical order). The links will take you to the company’s website: you’ll need to sign up there, then you can download the respective app on your Fire tablet and sign in with your login details.
You can also read our roundup of the best antivirus software list if you’re looking for protection for other devices. If you don’t want to spend too much, consider looking through our best free antivirus roundup.