EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

10.23.13

Android With Proprietary Apps Installed is Not Secure

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Security at 6:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Proprietary on top of Free/libre is like mud below a fortress

A fortress

Summary: The need to be able to verify that programs treat users respectfully and how it applies to Android

A new version of Android is said to be just days away [1]. There are already some rumoured features [2], but it is hard to tell more because the development process is not as open/free as Google would like us to believe. Google already lost a prominent FOSS figure because, according to him, Android was not so loyal to freedom or openness anymore.

“One cannot build back doors if they become visible. It’s a case of trust through deterrence.”Android is becoming somewhat of a de facto standard in watches these days [3,4], even though some companies go the other way [5]. In this area of watches, unlike CCTV-like eyeglasses (Google also explores taking fingerprints soon [6]), partners of Google appear to be ahead of Google. The same goes for TVs based on Android [7]. Android is almost becoming a de facto standard in embedded also [8].

Let’s accept the fact that Android is here to stay and to thrive (around 80% market share now), but how secure is it really? According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, spies are now accessing the microphone (and maybe camera) of Android devices remotely. Let’s accept the fact that the user is the weakest link (installing malware on one’s own [9]) and without a doubt users will always need to step in and do potentially risky things (adding software, as promoted in [10-12] this month, is the strength of Android). We are left dependent on trusting developers, not just within Google but also outside it (the community is developers is broadening [13]). Many of them are releasing proprietary software into Google’s digital market, so how can we — as users — check that these applications really respect our privacy and strictly obey OS-level restrictions? The users need not be developers, they can simply rely on several other users auditing or forking the code out of curiosity. One cannot build back doors if they become visible. It’s a case of trust through deterrence.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Android 4.4 KitKat tweets hint at Oct. 28 launch

    Two pictures shared by @KitKat on Twitter suggest Google will launch the operating system on October 28.

  2. Android signs up for official default setting for texting

    A single messaging app for Android might be closer than you think, as Google unveils new settings in KitKat to officially set a default text-messaging app.

  3. Sony SmartWatch 2 ticks as Google watch rumors tock

    Sony shipped its Android-based SmartWatch 2 in the U.S. market, featuring higher-resolution, NFC sync, and water resistance, while also launching its Xperia Z Ultra phablet and Xperia Z1 phone. Meanwhile, Google’s long awaited smartwatch — rumored to be a Nexus model codenamed Gem and featuring Google Now technology — is expected to be unveiled with Android 4.4 (aka KitKat) on Oct. 31.

  4. Review: Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch

    When a new tech product launches, reviewers usually come to some sort of consensus. Often something just clicks, and you see raves across the board. Other times, the product has obvious flaws, and critics are all equally quick to point those out. The early consensus for the Samsung Galaxy Gear, however, isn’t quite jiving with us. Though it’s been almost universally panned, we had a very different take on it. Why? Read on, as Gizmag gives you a different perspective on the new Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

  5. Nike’s no-Android stance on FuelBand is a huge mistake

    Nike is only shooting itself in the foot with its stubborn reluctance to work with Android.

  6. Android Fingerprint Sensors Coming Soon

    A coming web standard being pursued by the FIDO Alliance seeks to enable much wider use of biometric sensors to access accounts. FIDO should reduce, if not eliminate all together, the use of passwords to access accounts on mobile devices. The initial FIDO-equipped Android devices are on track to roll out in early 2014.

  7. Devs jump on Android TV ahead of Google

    Google may be keeping quiet on when the Google TV platform will be updated to the Jelly Bean operating system, but developers are already hard at work.

  8. Android HDMI-stick mini-PC includes Ethernet port

    Zhongshan Gosinggo has begun selling a 4.1 x 1.5 x 0.6-inch Android 4.1 mini-PC that includes both WiFi and Ethernet ports. The Gosinggo GSG-TB-06 is equipped with a 1GHz Allwinner A10 processor and Mali-400 GPU, as well as 1GB of DDR3 RAM, up to 32GB of flash, an HDMI port, and dual USB ports.

  9. How Secure Is Android, Really?

    Let’s get this out of the way. Android as an operating system is very secure. It has multiple layers of protection to keep malware at bay, and it requires your specific permission to do almost anything that could lead to your data or the system being compromised. However, Android is an open system that trusts you the user and its community of developers to do the right thing. If you want to, you can give away a lot of permissions, and even access to deeper parts of the system if you’ve rooted your phone. Android tries to protect you from yourself, but if you nudge it, it lets you have the final say on what to install (and from where, like unknown sources and beyond the regularly-patrolled walls of Google Play) and who to give permissions to.

  10. New Aviate app makes Android phones more intuitive

    There comes a time in every smart phone owner’s life when the number of installed apps outweighs the brainpower available to the owner to keep them all managed. Enter Aviate, a new home screen management system for Android that aims to keep everything under control, intelligently.

  11. 9 of the best video-player apps for Android
  12. Top 15 Android tablet apps for work and play

    Android tablets have come a long way since the first, the Motorola XOOM, appeared. The right apps make them great tablets for both work and play.

  13. The Big Android BBQ 2013 in pictures

    The Big Android BBQ is a unique combination of developer conference and enthusiast get-together, all wrapped up in a general celebration of the Android operating system. Attendees come from all over the world to share ideas, best practices, or just to hang out with friends. This year the conference saw more than 40 sessions ranging from Glass development to hardware hacking, with more than a few things in between.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. The EPO Is More Corrupt Under Battistelli Than Under Alison Brimelow: Part VIII

    After Brimelow, with all her flaws and her scandals, an even worse President is installed who then abolishes oversight and seemingly brings his old friends to the EPO, creating a sort of subculture that is impenetrable to outsiders



  2. Claiming That Microsoft 'Loves' Linux While Windows Update Bricks Devices With Linux

    The sheer absurdity of claims that Microsoft -- which not only attacks those who distribute Linux and GNU but also blackmails them, takes them to court, or bricks their products without any liability -- 'loves' Linux



  3. Protectionist Reign: Corporations in Complete Control of Everything With Domination Over Patent Law

    How multinational corporations, joined by the corporate press that they are funding, promote a corporations- but not people-friendly patent policy in north America



  4. Links 30/10/2014: GNOME 3.15.1, Red Hat Software Collections 1.2

    Links for the day



  5. Links 29/10/2014: Ubuntu Touch Tablet, Puppy Linux 6.0

    Links for the day



  6. Links 28/10/2014: SUSE Linux Enterprise 12, Canonical OpenStack Distro

    Links for the day



  7. Links 28/10/2014: PiFxOS, The Document Foundation in OSBA

    Links for the day



  8. Microsoft is Bricking Devices With Linux (Yet Again!), So a Microsoft Booster Spins/Paints Linux Devices as 'Fakes'

    Microsoft delivers rogue drivers through Windows Update and they brick Arduino microcontrollers



  9. How Bill Gates Continues to Pass Wealth From the Public to His Own Bank Account

    Having put a universal tax on many things (not just computers) and evaded tax using the classic 'charity' trick, Gates is now buying the media, the schools, politicians etc. and earns as much as 10 billion dollars per year while the public is taught that Gates is a giver, not a hoarder of the worst kind



  10. Links 27/10/2014: Lenovo Unbundling, Linux 3.18 RC2

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: September 14th, 2014 – October 25th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  12. Links 25/10/2014: KDE Mockups, Update on GNOME Outreach Program for Women

    Links for the day



  13. After Infecting Unity -- Successfully -- Microsoft's Partner Xamarin Wants to Infect Unreal Engine With .NET

    Xamarin continues to spread dependence on Microsoft to more gaming frameworks, not just platforms such as GNU/Linux, Android, and even permanent-state devices



  14. Taking Microsoft Windows Off the Grid for Damage to Businesses, the Internet, and Banking Systems

    Microsoft's insecure-by-design software is causing massive damages ([cref 27802 possibly trillions] of [cref 13992 dollars in damages to date]) and yet the corporate press does not ask the right questions, let alone suggest a ban on Microsoft software



  15. City of Berlin Does Not Abandon Free Software, It's Only Tax Authorities

    A Softpedia report that says the City of Berlin is moving to Microsoft Office is flawed and may be based on a poor translation



  16. Nadella a Liar in Chief at Microsoft, Pretending That His Anti-Competitive Practices Are Unfortunately Imposed on Microsoft

    The nastiness of Microsoft knows no bounds as even its assault on GNU/Linux and dirty tricks against Free software adoption are characterised as the fault of 'pirates'



  17. Reuters Writes About the Demise of Software Patents, But Focuses on 'Trolls' and Quotes Lawyers

    How the corporate media chooses to cover the invalidity of many software patents and the effect of that



  18. Links 24/10/2014: Microsoft Tax Axed in Italy, Google's Linux (ChromeOS/Android) Leader Promoted

    Links for the day



  19. Links 24/10/2014: GNU/Linux History, Fedora Delay

    Links for the day



  20. Links 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  21. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  22. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  23. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  24. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  25. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  26. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  27. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  28. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  29. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  30. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts