The world is getting filled up with malware and viruses that target the Android ecosystem. It is becoming increasingly harder to download an app and it not be filled with tracking code, cookies and malicious code on your smartphone or tablet. What about e-readers? Can they also get viruses or are they somehow immune?
Amazon has been selling e-ink based readers since 2007 and most have run on the Linux operating system with special Kindle code. The operating system is in a partition that can’t be seen from the PC and is very hard to attack. Although ,there is some malware that can attack it, you are unlikely to run into any in the normal course of using the Kindle because the web browser doesn’t support most of the common flash or java code that commonly gets attacked.
The entire line of Kindle e-Readers could feasibility carry a virus on the USB drive, resulting in a computer becoming infected when you plug it into it. As it stands, the Kindle itself could not be infected.
Norton, the makes of Norton Security and Anti-Virus recently stated “Some E-readers use the 3G wireless network that cell phones use, and stripped down Web browsers to connect over the Internet to e-book stores. Some devices also let you connect to a laptop or desktop computer to upload or download files. As a result, it’s conceivable an e-reader could inadvertently catch a virus or worm from an email message, file or Web page. There haven’t been reports yet of this happening, but that doesn’t mean the threat won’t increase as eBooks become more popular. The reason is that hackers normally write viruses to target Windows-based computers because so many people use them, and since the number of people using Kindles and other e-readers is tiny by comparison, attacking these devices may not be as attractive right now to hackers.”
The common reader that uses a Kindle, has little to fear from an often cruel and unjust world. You will not get infected by a rogue eBook purchased from the Amazon store or blast out emails to your contact list. Now the Kindle Fire line of tablets, that is another story.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.