At the Google I/O 2014 keynote, Sundar Pichai took to the stage to let us know that the L release of Android is set to make massive improvements in security for the enterprise as well as regular users. The Washington Post has received word from Google that gives us another glimpse of what we should expect in the next version. It seems that devices shipping with Android L will have disk encryption enabled by default.
The CyanogenMod team has been working on a secure messaging component for the popular ROM in recent months, and the time has come for some real world testing. The new encrypted WhisperPush messaging system is being rolled out to CyanogenMod 10.2 nightlies for compatibility and server load testing. If all goes as planned, it will reach the CM11 branch soon.
CyanogenMod's secure messaging is an implementation of TextSecure, a cross-platform encrypted SMS platform maintained by Open WhisperSystems.
CyanogenMod is already one of the most polished Android ROMs out there, but as the dev team says in the most recent blog post, running a custom OS shouldn't mean you're lacking first-class features. To that end, CyanogenMod ROMs will soon include CyanogenMod Account for encrypted device management. The account provider is already in CM's Github, but don't get too ahead of yourself – the CyanogenMod Account isn't rolling out right away.
Piracy is a major issue for Android, and even more so for Android developers, which is why Jelly Bean introduced App Encryption. But this may be a case of the cure being worse than the disease: hundreds of developers of paid apps have chimed in on a Google Code thread, claiming that the encryption (or more accurately, the location of installed and encrypted apps from the Google Play Store) makes their apps entirely unusable, as account information and other stored data is removed after a device reboot.
While tonight's event positively overloaded us with details about Ice Cream Sandwich, there were some features that didn't make the cut - Android engineer Dan Morrill has spilled the details on even more awesome features we can expect from the latest version of Android, posting a brief message about them on Google+. Unfortunately we don't have screen shots of these features, but we can discuss what information we do have, feature-by-feature.
Just another step in Google's efforts to make Android more appealing to businesses - an update to the Google Apps Device Policy application has added three new features to make your Android device more secure:
- Remote Location: Any Android 2.2+ device can be located remotely via GPS or by making it ring. The PIN or password can also be remotely reset.
- Data Encryption: Android 3.0 introduced data encryption, and now Google Apps users have the ability to encrypt this data remotely as long as the App Device Policy is already installed on the device.
Motorola Mobility has revealed to InfoWorld that it is working with the newly acquired start-up 3LM (Three Laws Mobility) to fill the security gaps in the Android platform and create a more secure smartphone OS.
The BlackBerry has been the traditional smartphone of choice for executives, with the iPhone making slow inroads. However, the Android platform has never found love in the corporate world due mainly to its open and insecure nature, perceived or otherwise.
Earlier yesterday, Google demoed some of Honeycomb's most impressive features, however one of its best features seems to have slipped under the radar. While playing around with the Motorola XOOM, Engadget noticed an "Encrypt Tablet" option in the settings page.
At this time little is known about the encryption standard that will be used or whether the encryption process will affect the tablet's other features in any way. All that is known is that your accounts, settings, downloaded applications, media, and other files will be encrypted, and you will require a numeric PIN or password to decrypt the data.