If you are among the 1-5 million users that have installed WiFi Tether for Root Users, you can expect a surprise today. For the first time in almost a year, the official build in Google Play has been updated with new features and fixes. Galaxy S4 users will be especially happy.
There may be many ways to root an Android phone, but there's allegedly one root to rule them all. At this year's Black Hat USA 2013 conference, security researcher Jeff Forristal will detail how to gain system access and control on nearly any Android device. The bug was disclosed back in February, and Google presumably has worked to patch the vulnerability in the months since, so don't get too excited.
Forristal claims he can modify APKs without having to re-sign them. This means someone with ill intentions could install malicious code masked as a legit app, or they could update existing apps without needing the signing key, compromising apps users naturally assume are safe.
Root Explorer is a favorite among power users, including yours truly, for its no-nonsense approach to file management on Android. That said, the app was getting a bit long in the tooth before today, with a stale UI and a lack of new features. Developer Speed Software has released a major update to Root Explorer with a ton of new content, including a revamped user interface, networking and cloud storage options, and background processing.
The most forward-facing feature added is the new tabbed user interface. By default you're presented with a Root and a Storage tab, which can be navigated independently.
Shhhh. Listen closely. Do you hear that? It's the sound of thousands of developers and modders salivating. Though the system images for Google Glass have been available for some time (thanks in no small part to this humble establishment), Google has decided to take the guesswork out of backups and modifications for their wearable tech. The Google Developers website has a brand new Downloads section for Glass, complete with the latest factory image (XE5) and a bootloader. The latter even comes pre-rooted - because Google knows its audience.
Google has also posted the source code for the current Glass kernel to its corporate Git hub, GoogleSource.com.
Give the community enough time and almost any device can be cracked open, no matter how determined a carrier or OEM is to keep it locked down. The Verizon Galaxy S4 has proven a tough nut to crack, but a new root method is much less convoluted than previous ones. Just flash a kernel, run some tools, flash again, and you're done! Well, it's a little more involved than that, but not much. Here's how you do it.
First up, grab the necessary tools:
- Samsung Official USB Drivers - Link
- ODIN v3.07 - Link
- VRUAMD2 Pre-release Kernel - Link
- VRUAMDK Stock Kernel - Link
- Motochopper Root Exploit Tool – Link
ODIN is a tool used for flashing firmware and kernels on Samsung devices.
In case you hadn't heard, Samsung is making a little extra effort to secure the Galaxy S4 via tougher software kernels, which aren't susceptible to some of the more common root methods from previous Galaxy models. But where there's a will, there's a way, and noted Android developer/modder Chainfire has found a way around the security on the stock kernel for the Galaxy S4 i9505 - that's the Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered LTE variant, and the model sold for AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States.
This root exploit works via a newly-modified version of the CF-Auto-Root tool and the popular SuperSU permission manager app.
Cydia by developer Saurik has been around the block a few times, beginning in 2008 as a means of installing and modifying software on jailbroken iDevices. A diverse ecosystem has sprung up around the platform, expanding what iOS fans can do on their usually restricted devices. Saurik's Cydia Substrate, a platform for modifying devices without flashing new ROMs, has now made its way over to Android.
Cydia Substrate does not do anything interesting on its own, but developers can use the platform to distribute extensions that modify software without requiring access to source code. Rooted users are free to load these extensions to pimp out their phones without having to go through all the hassle of installing custom ROMs.
Note from Artem: The post's author, Justin Case, also known as jcase in the Android community, is an xda Elite Recognized Developer, AP team member, and an all-around knowledgeable guy when it comes to Android's internals. When he speaks, I tend to listen.
The Android world was slapped in the face when well-known developer AndreiLux made a post in the XDA Galaxy S4 forum titled [Info] Rooting will be impossible on newer stock kernels.
His post has caused some unwarranted drama in the community, and I wish to set this subject straight as much as I can. AndreiLux is pointing out a new feature in Samsung Galaxy S4 kernel called CONFIG_SEC_RESTRICT_SETUID.