It's no surprise that Google's latest update to our favorite operating system is in instant demand amongst power users and enthusiasts. Without fail, the people eagerly installing 4.3 are frequently the same ones who consider root privileges a necessity for a good Android experience. Unfortunately, it seems a wrench has been thrown into the works when it comes to exposing ultimate access, and people are experiencing more than a few hiccups because of it.
Android 4.3 was officially unveiled and released today to the Android Open Source Project. In a surprisingly timely fashion, Google also released both the factory images and OTAs to the Nexus 4, 7, 10, and the Galaxy Nexus.
A few weeks ago the "Master Key" APK verification vulnerability rocked the Android security landscape... then immediately stopped rocking it, once Google revealed that they had patched the vulnerability months ago. Still, that's little comfort to users who aren't on a brand-new 4.2 phone (or, you know, a Nexus device that gets real updates). CyanogenMod has responded by patching all of its official ROMs (twice), and now noted security firm Duo has teamed up with Northeastern University's SecLab to do the same for all Android rooted users, regardless of their device.
Samsung Galaxy S4 owners on Verizon, there's a new update available for your phones. But don't bother checking your Settings menu for an over-the-air prompt: it's only available via the Verizon Software Upgrade Assistant after connecting the device to a PC. Standard users should be fine, but rooted users (or those who intend to root or flash a new ROM sometime in the future) should avoid this one. According to several posters on XDA, the VRUAME7 patches existing root methods, and flashes a new version of the locked bootloader that prevents users from flashing a pre-release kernel, effectively blocking another path to root.
If you're a heavy custom ROM user or a dedicated modder, you want this app. Flashify is a brand-spankin' new tool for root users with a ton of advanced function, specifically tailored to those who use custom recoveries, kernels, and boot images. The app can flash any of them right from Android, automatically rebooting your phone and applying your changes. It can do the same with more generalized Zip update files as well.
If you've got a Galaxy Note 10.1 handy and a hankering for root-enabled fun, noted modder mskip has just posted an initial version of his extensive Toolkit for the Samsung tablet to the XDA developers forum. We've seen these before for all kinds of hardware, most recently the Galaxy Note 8.0, and they're great as a one-stop shop for advanced user operations. The toolkit requires a Windows PC, but beyond that it's got everything you should need to start rooting and modding the Note 10.1.
Have you ever refused to install an app because it wants too many permissions? Yeah, a lot of people have, and we don't blame them. A little too much trust can lead to stolen information, mysterious charges on your cellular bill, or worse. Thanks to developer M66B, we've got a simple way to lock down potentially misbehaving software. His new mod, XPrivacy, can block several types of activities and queries, despite the permissions granted at installation.
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.