Is the Android World Secure?

May 13, 2016 | Views: 4828

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Hello dear Cybrary people! Thank you for your great support!

I’m back with another interesting article today. Since most of you were asking me different security questions  lately, and most of them are related to Android, I’d like to share my view and experiences on Android as a platform.

As you may know, Android is a mobile operating system (OS) currently developed by Google, based on the Linux kernel and designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Many of you may also know that Android is open-source (which means that you are allowed to edit the code, and develop Android-based applications and services). If you’re an experienced Android Developer, you would know there are still some things that are limited and closed from reading and understanding.

 

IS IT SAFE? HOW is our DATA Protected? – It’s NOT protected enough…

First Layer : The Operating System

If you’re using Android, you may already know that many brands install bloatware (unwanted software) into the devices. They do this so they can make some money with your device usage and data, and they don’t allow the user to uninstall these applications. The bloatware applications are used to collect different data, and usually, the data is shared with third-party companies for marketing purposes.

However, Android Developers can usually “root” the device and gain system-wide permissions to delete and install any kind of software. Please keep in mind that if you have rooted your device, you must be careful and know what you are doing. If you delete something that is keeping the system functioning properly, you will “brick” the device and it might not work anymore.

 

Second Layer : The Application Permissions

Before the user installs any application, the application will ask the operating system for specific permissions, which can also make a device vulnerable. For example, if you want to install a simple flashlight application, which doesn’t need to use anything else than the flashlight, check what permissions are needed from the Operating System. If it requires permission to read your contacts, to use your GPS location, to work as a startup process and to communicate with the internet, you’d definitely want to avoid this application, even if the rating is good. Believe me, even the mainstream apps can be changed and abused in that way. If you agree to install the application anyway, you’ll use it for the flashlight, but the developer on the other site can read your contacts, pictures and private sensitive information from your device without your knowledge, because you have agreed to give that permissions to the OS. That’s why it’s really important to know how technology works, and protect yourself from data leaking.

 

Third Layer : Web-based Social Engineering, Phishing

Even if you are careful with your applications, keep in mind that you can still be tricked with some fake websites or pictures which are not safe to visit. For example, there are websites that have ads like : “You have 7 viruses on your device, click here to clean up.” These kinds of Phishing techniques needs to be avoided as much as possible. Don’t trust in something that sounds to good, and it’s free.

My advice to you is: If you decide to use an Android, then use it with caution. Don’t install any suspicious apps and always check what permissions are asked for from the OS. Keep healthy habits when you surf the web and be careful what are you installing. Don’t download any suspicious files, especially if they end in .apk, since the APK extension is for executable applications on Androids.

 

I’m glad if I’ve helped you with some basic Android-related discussions. Feel free to support, rate and share my articles. Contact me with any questions.

Have a nice day!

Dragan I.

 

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39 Comments
  1. Good,
    So we can say “Android security” depends on “Application Permissions”.

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