Amazon backtracks on Fire OS encryption removal

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Amazon backtracks on Fire OS encryption removal

Security feature to return in forthcoming update.

User furore over online retail giant Amazon's removal of encryption support from its Fire OS operating system has forced the company to promise to reverse the decision.

The move enraged users including Zendesk infosec specialist David Scovetta, who complained over the weekend that Amazon had removed the security option from Fire OS 5. 

Soon after, Scovetta said he had been advised that the decision would be reversed.

"Well, that was quick. Amazon's Robin Handaly advises encryption will return in a device update later this year," Scovetta said.

Scovetta criticised Amazon's decision at a time when fellow technology company Apple was embroiled in a high-profile legal stoush with the United States over breaking the security features that underpinned the strong encryption in its iPhone devices.

Amazon said the encryption option was being removed as customers weren't using the feature. Users who wanted to upgrade to Fire OS 5 were told to decrypt their devices beforehand to access their data.

If users wished to keep the encryption feature, they could remain on the older Fire OS 4 operating system, Amazon said.

The security feature meant encrypted devices would erase stored data if a PIN was enterered incorrectly 30 times in a row, thus preventing a so-called brute force guessing attack to unlock the tablets running the OS

Fire OS is a fork of Google's Linux-based Android mobile operating system created by Amazon.

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