In our final Android 6.0 Compatibility Definition Document post, we'll be looking at a small[-ish] clause added in the security section of the CDD. Previously, Google had not actually defined any particularly specific requirements about factory resets for Android devices. While all devices have such a function, they may differ in their efficacy and level of security post-wipe. And while we don't have any reason to believe a particular manufacturer is not already meeting these new requirements (a point I will stress), it's good to see Google is at least laying down a clear mandate on this issue going forward.
Basically, it was possible, pre-Android 6.0, for a manufacturer to merely conduct a logical wipe when doing a factory reset of a device. Read More
Just yesterday, Google posted to its Android blog about Android Device Manager – a tool that will help Android users keep their phones and data safe by offering location and remote wiping/locking features that third party solutions have until now been filling in for.
This morning, users started reporting that the service was rolling out to their devices already. Indeed, Android Device Manager is getting introduced by way of Google Play Services version 3.2.25, but it's not complete just yet.
For now, it seems ADM is limited to a checkbox in the Device Administrators menu.
Of course, we're digging in to the new Play Services apk. Read More
While there is no shortage of security apps on the Play Store, aeGis one stands out a bit for a few reasons. For starters, it's dead simple to use. Set up a specific trigger phrase and you can text your phone to lock the display, remotely wipe, find the address of, or sound an alarm from your phone. There's no web interface, unfortunately, but this app trades the elaborate suite of services of something like Avast for simplicity.
What's even cooler is this app is entirely open source. Built by a member of the CyanogenMod team as a side project, the entire codebase is available on Github here. Read More
Amazon has begun pushing a software update to Kindle Fire owners, updating the tablet's software to version 6.2. The online shopping giant kept quiet about just what the update included however. Given this (lack of) information, the real story here is that the update breaks root. Additionally, the Fire is configured to update automatically over WiFi, and there isn't an immediately apparent way to stop it.
There is a bright side, however. After your Fire updates, regaining root access is not only possible, but easy, using SuperOneClick. For instructions, head over to the discussion on XDA Forums. It's worth mentioning that the update may wipe the Android Market app and custom keyboards, along with your root privileges. Read More
The ability to locate your expensive bundle of joy, when lost or worse, stolen, is priceless. And arguably more so, is the capability to prevent whoever is using it from accessing your personal data and photos while placing premium rate phone calls to xxx numbers in Eastern Europe.
It's peace of mind that even if your phone is truly gone for good, then the biggest expense you'll incur will be a new handset, and hell, the insurance that you are paying through the nose for, should cover that.
This is why apps such as Lookout Mobile Security, Theft Aware, and WatchDroid Pro exist. Read More
Good news for all you prepared individuals out there who are subscribed to Sprints TEP (Total Equipment Protection) plan: You now have access to a new app that adds a whole new level of useful to protecting your device through Asurion, the third party company that handles the insurance rigmarole for Sprint (and pretty much every other U.S. carrier, but they don't get an app).
The Sprint Total Equipment Protection App essentially mirrors the functionality of services like Lookout Mobile Security (but without the antivirus part): It can be used for locating your phone via GPS, helping to find it by sounding an alarm (even when on silent mode), backing up your contacts, remotely locking your device with a pin code, and remotely wiping the contacts. Read More
Device updates that break root are fairly common - in fact, I'd go so far as to say that the majority of updates do so. What's a bit less common, though, is an update that resets your device because you're rooted. The device in question here is the NOOKcolor, and unfortunately it looks like that's exactly what's happening.
Before I dive into the details, I think it's important to note that I doubt that even as much as manufacturers and carriers dislike when people root their device, it's pretty far over the line for them to remotely wipe the devices of people who have done so. Read More
With Android 2.3, users will have not only a slew of new features (I can't wait!), but also a fix to a security issue present in the previous versions of Android: TapJacking. TapJacking occurs when a malicious application displays a fake user interface that you can interact with, but actually secretly passes interaction events, such as finger taps, to a hidden user interface behind it. Using this technique, a devious developer could potentially trick a user into making purchases, clicking on ads, installing applications, or even wiping all of the data from the phone. All around, TapJacking is not good!
In previous versions of Android, an attacker was able to display the fake user interface by creating a customized notification (called a Toast) to obscure the real interface. Read More