Kindle Fire Security Tips

Set a Password on the Device

Password protect your Kindle Fire from unauthorized access.

From the home screen:

1. Tap the Settings icon in the upper right-hand corner (it’s the small gear icon next to the Wi-Fi symbol).

 

 

 

 

2. From the drop-down menu touch More.

 

 

 

3. Touch Security.

 

 

4. Turn ON Lock Screen Password.

 

 

 

 

5. Enter whatever password you would like to set for the device and tap the Finish button.

This means that when you turn on the device or if the screen goes black when not in use for more than 5 minutes (5 minutes is the default), you will have to enter the password to unlock your Kindle Fire.

 

 

 

 

Password Protect Wi-Fi

This is a separate password then the one used to join an encrypted password protected network. This password will unlock and enable the Wi-Fi. I have heard this described as a way to prevent your kids from surfing the internet when using the device or if you lend the Kindle to a friend and don’t want them connecting to any wireless networks. Instead of reinventing the wheel the following article explains how to quickly and very easily set this up.

Kindle Fire: Password Protect WiFi

Accelerate Web Page Loading & Enable Encryption

I use these settings when I connect my Kindle Fire to a wireless hot spot. Since most public free Wi-Fi hot spots provide very little security creating this encrypted connection from my device to the Amazon server is the equivalent of an encrypted VPN connection. When I’m on my WPA2 protected home wireless network I will disable these settings.

Depending on what side of the privacy fence your on you may want to read the Amazon usage agreement on how they collect plus how long they store your browsing history when you go through their server using the accelerate page loading setting.

After opening the Silk browser follow the instructions below to enable the accelerate page loading and encryption.

1. On the bottom of the screen tap the icon that looks like a piece of paper with writing on it.

2. When the menu of icons appear tap on Settings.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Scroll done the Settings page and find the Accelerate page loading setting.

4. Tap the check box to enable the Accelerate page loading, and you can also enable the Optional Encryption setting. You can only use the encryption setting when the accelerate page loading is enabled.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Have the Browser Remember Passwords

This one of the settings that brothers me no matter what device or browser people use and I always recommend to never have a browser remember passwords. If the device is lost or stolen and the browser is set to remember passwords it could be the equivalent of running into the local grocery store and leaving your car in the parking lot with the keys in it and the engine running.

1. Follow the instructions above to access the Silk browser settings.

2. On the settings page verify the Remember passwords setting is not checked.

 

 

3. Below the Remember passwords setting is the Clear passwords settings. If you did have the browser remember any passwords you can click that to clear out any passwords the browser is storing.

This is just some of the security settings that can be setup on the Kindle Fire. Leave a comment or question, or let me know if you’re using any of these security settings or if there is any other security features you find help protect your Kindle device.

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Kindle Fire Tips & Tricks

Some tips and tricks I have collected about the Kindle Fire. Most of information listed here I have found on the internet and have tried to give back links to the original posts.

Can Not Connect to 5 GHz Wireless

After receiving the Kindle Fire I first tried to connect the device to my home wireless network. The Kindle Fire would not find my 5 GHz network, so I tried adding it manually, and again no luck. I found the following article that explains the chipset in the Kindle Fire does not support 802.11a / 5 GHz, bummer!

http://wlanbook.com/amazon-kindle-fire-only-supports-2.4-ghz-wifi/

Copy and Paste Text

Evernote is an application I like to use on my Win 7 laptop and I was very excited to see this app available for the Kindle Fire. After installing the app on my Kindle Fire I went to the browser to test how to copy text into a note and found this on a Kindle Fire help forum.
-long press on the text you want to copy (I tested in the browser)
-it will bring up the two sliders and highlight the word you held on
-move the sliders to expand the selection you want to copy
-click once on the selected text
-a message will popup saying text copied
-go to where you want to paste the text (I tested using Evernote)
-long press on the spot you want to paste (make sure you’re in typing/edit mode, if you can’t type text you wont be able to paste either)
-a popup will ask if you want to paste, click paste

Hard Reset

Not a good feeling when your device freezes up and you’re not sure what to do. The only button on the device is the power button and hitting that does nothing, now what!

Step 1: Hard Reset: Press and hold the power button for 20 seconds and then release.

Step 2: Tap the Power Button: After the first 20 second hold of the power button wait about 1 second and hit the power button again. I received the Kindle Fire screen for about 20 seconds and then my regular login screen showed up.

https://www.zdnet.com/blog/mobile-gadgeteer/if-your-kindle-fire-is-having-issues-follow-these-instructions/5372

ES File Explorer

Nice app to browse and manage the folders and files on the device, and ES File Explorer is a free app available in the Amazon app store.

ES File Explorer details page

Transfer and Read PDF Files

Awesome instructions with screen shots that explain the two ways to transfer and read PDF files on the Kindle Fire.

Kindle Fire: How to Transfer and Read PDF Files

Too Many Tabs in the Amazon Silk Browser

To clear out all the tabs at once, you can touch one tab, hold down on it and then select the option to close all tabs from the pop up. You will then have a fresh browser with no open tabs. Sorry, no link on this tip and not sure where I found it.

Calibre

Some great instructions to convert ebooks or PDF files to mobi format and transfer those files to the Kindle Fire for reading. Need the data transfer cable to transfer files from the Calibre program on your laptop to the Kindle Fire device. Cable is not included, but it is under ten dollars online from the Amazon Kindle accessories.

How to make e-books show up under “Books” on the Kindle Fire

Data Transfer Cable

This is just a handful of tips I found useful, and there is plenty of other tips for the Kindle Fire beside the ones I listed here. Drop me a comment on you favorite tip as I’m always looking to learn new ways to use the Kindle Fire device, and come back next week as I will post some security settings for the Kindle Fire to help protect the device.

Is Your WPA2 Protected Wireless Network Really Secure

You’ve set up a wireless network in your home or small office and configured it with the highest level of encryption using a WPA2 passphrase. But is that WPA2 passphrase strong enough to protect the wireless network? A weak WPA2 passphrase could be hacked allowing an unauthorized person to use the wireless network. Even worse this unauthorized person could decrypt the communications revealing emails you send, web sites you visit, and passwords you use for access to websites.

You’re probably saying to yourself if WPA2 encryption could be broken on my wireless network is there anything I can do to improve security for the network? Yes, with a couple of safe guards WPA2 can provide the required security, and I will describe how to apply these safe guards by always changing the factory default network SSID, and how the WPA2 passphrase should be a completely random string of characters.

All small office home office routers ship from the factory with a default SSID assigned to the wireless network name. It might be Dlink, Linksys, or something else the vendor selected. You should always change this SSID to something of your choosing, but avoid a network SSID that might identify who owns the network, or something found in the top 1000 SSID names. Along with the WPA2 passphrase, the SSID is used to create the key to encrypt the wireless communications. Even though the SSID name can easily be found, if you’re using the factory default SSID or a common SSID name you make the job of the hacker that much easier.

With the SSID changed let’s move on to WPA2 passphrase. The WPA2 passphrase should be a completely random string of letters and numbers. Don’t use common dictionary words, names, a famous quote, the name of your favorite sports team, etc… At a minimum the WPA2 passphrase should be 25 characters, and you can bang on the keyboard until you get something with 25 characters or use a password generator web site. I like to use the password generator on the WhatsMyip.org website. If you use this site scroll down to the bottom of the page and look for the WPA Password Generator section, and use the “Better” option to generate a random 32 character passphrase.

WPA Password Generator

WPA Password Generator

After getting WPA2 passphrase entered into the wireless management interface on the router you should copy it into a Notepad file and save that to a USB storage drive. You can plug the USB drive into the other wireless devices and open the file to copy and paste the WPA2 passphrase into those devices to quickly add them to the network. Some devices may not have USB ports, and may require you to manually type in the passphrase, but this will be a onetime entry since the devices will save the passphrase.

The two suggestions above will increase the security of your wireless network and make it harder for a potential hacker to break. Making your wireless network a difficult target will more than likely cause a hacker to move on to an easier one.

Additional Reading:

To learn more about passphrases check out the Wikipedia page.

If you’re looking for more security tips when setting up a home wireless network check out my earlier blog post.

Is Hiding the Wireless SSID All the Network Security You Need

Every wireless network has a service set identifier or SSID, which is the name given to the wireless network. The SSID is used to distinguish wireless networks from one another. Small office home office (SOHO) routers come from the factory with a default SSID and owners of the SOHO router should always change this default SSID name to something of their choosing.

Along with changing the SSID name another very popular setting for individuals to enable on the router is to not have it broadcast the SSID or wireless network name. Hiding the SSID requires more overhead by the network owner to manually configure any wireless devices that need to be part of the network. Many network owners believe hiding the presence of the wireless network and configuring the devices that join it as a great way to secure the network, but this is providing a false sense of security. You’re not really hiding the network you are just hiding the network from advertising itself. A moderately skilled hacker with the right utilities can still find hidden wireless networks, and if there is no other security defined on the router you open your network up to several attacks.

Anyone with knowledge of wireless networks can use free utilities downloaded from the internet to scan the airwaves and capture specific communication frames to discover hidden networks. Once the hidden network name is discovered, and assuming no other security is setup an intruder could connect to the wireless network and use it for free internet access.

If an unauthorized person connects to the wireless network this would expose the other computers connected to the network. Any shared folders setup on your computers could then be browsed by the intruder and the data in them downloaded.

Hiding the SSID has one attack method that most people are not aware of. When you take your wireless device to a Wi-Fi hot spot the device will try to search for your hidden network. Basically the device will be announcing the name of the hidden SSID to anyone that may be listening. If a bad guy is at the hot spot he could create a fake access point with the SSID that your device is searching for and then try to trick you or force your device to connect to his “evil twin” access point. If the bad guy can get you to connect to the fake AP it can open up your device to numerous attacks. This may not sound like a big risk, and so many people feel the public Wi-Fi network at their local coffee shop or cafe is safe, but I always recommend when you’re using a free wireless hot spot to treat that network as unfriendly. What I mean by unfriendly is free wireless hot spots usually have no security setup and they are just convenient portals for internet access. With hot spot networks having very little or no security setup it is a prime location for the bad guys to take advantage of unsuspecting victims, so don’t think your local coffee shop or cafe is not susceptible to these types of attacks.

Regardless if your wireless network is hidden or not encryption should always be used. Encryption will scramble the network communications so they are unreadable by anyone capturing the traffic. The bad guy doesn’t need to know if a wireless network is hidden or connect to the network to capture unencrypted traffic, and this unencrypted traffic could be divulging emails you send, web sites you visit, and passwords you type into log in pages. Encryption is an important security setting to enable on your wireless network and should be setup on all wireless networks whether they are hidden or not.

Used by itself hiding the network SSID does not provide adequate security, but using this feature along with encryption and other security settings available on your home wireless router will give you a more layered approach to security. The more layers or harder you make breaking the security of the network the more someone wanting to access it will move on to an easier target.