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. In Lawyerland, Simulated UPC 'Trials' and More Extraordinary EPO Propaganda for Change That Would Harm Europe to Help Patent Lawyers and Their Big Clients

    A look at the latest wave of lobbying for the Unitary Patent Court (UPC), courtesy of patent lawyers who profit from patent disputes, and the utterly shameless marketing from the European Patent Office (EPO)



  2. Apple and Microsoft Cannot Keep Up With Android (Linux), More Layoffs Reported

    Having failed to grow (in the operating systems market share sense), proprietary software giants lose loyalty, try to attack the winner (Android/Linux) with software patents, and inevitably make their staff redundant



  3. Links 12/2/2016: Russian's Government With GNU/Linux, India's Wants FOSS

    Links for the day



  4. New EPO Protests Amid Nervous Breakdowns of Spanish EPO Employee (After Institutional Bullying by Battistelli's Goons), Spain Rejects the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    In the face of enormous pressure from non-technical Eurocrats like Battistelli, Spain remains strong and resists the Unitary Patent Court (UPC), which puts more power in the hands of an abusive body that grossly discriminates against Spaniards



  5. Only Half a Dozen Cuban Patents Filed at EPO, But Hugely Unpopular Battistelli Goes to Cuba to Garner Cheap Support

    Now that Spain is antagonising the EPO (and especially the UPC) the President of the EPO helps create some puff pieces in Spanish as he visits Cuba and neighbouring Spanish-speaking nations which are historically renowned for defunct governance and lawlessness (like the EPO itself)



  6. Nepotismo de la UPC, Abusos Políticos, y el Envolvimiento en la UPC de la Firma ¨Legal¨ que la OEP Contrato para Matonear a Techrights

    La Corte Unitaria de Patentes UPC, un sistema arregaldo esta siendo embestida por la gargant de Europa por la OEP. (Nos están metiendo la yuca). Sus grandes clientes (incluso extranjeros), con sus abogados de patentes para que todo el mundo los vea.



  7. Miembro del Parlamente Europe Resalta ¨Las Continuas Violaciones de los Fundamentales Derechos de los Empleados de la OEP¨

    Pregunta a la Comisión Europea de parte de la MEP Portuguesa Ana Gomes, publicado en el sitio del Parlamente Europeo.



  8. Links 11/2/2016: LibreOffice 5.1, HMRC and FOSS

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft Continues to Use Software Patents to Extort/Blackmail Even More Companies That Use Linux, Forcing/Coercing Them Into Preinstalling Microsoft

    Acer is the latest large OEM to have become a victim of Microsoft's witch-hunt against Android/Linux preloaders, whom Microsoft is coercing into becoming Microsoft's carriers (or face litigation over software patents, with high legal fees if not injunctions or high damages upon secret settlements)



  10. EPO Brain Drain (Even Directors Fed Up With Team Battistelli) and Rumours About Battistelli Becoming President of the UPC

    Words heard through the grapevine of the European Patent Office (EPO), where staff is overwhelmingly against the managers and some people, including high-profile staff, add to the exodus



  11. More Than 20 Years in the Line: European Patent Office and Claims of European Convention on Human Rights Infringement Against Applicants/Stakeholders

    Gross incompetence and potentially an infringement of the European Convention on Human Rights at the European Patent Office (EPO), this time impacting an applicant (one of many in a similar position)



  12. UPC Nepotism, Political Abuses, and UPC Involvement From the Legal Firm That EPO Hired to Bully Techrights

    The Unitary Patent Court (UPC), a rigged system that is being rammed down Europe's throat by the EPO, its big clients (even foreign), and their patent lawyers laid bear for people to see



  13. Member of European Parliament Brings Up “Ongoing Violations of the Fundamental and Employment Rights of the Staff of EPO”

    Question to the European Commission from Portuguese MEP Ana Gomes, as published in the site of the European Parliament



  14. La Oficina Europea de Patentes Pretende que No Pasa Nada y Prepara una Feria de Vanidad

    La estrategia de relaciones públicas de la OEP cuya destructiva estrategia de patentes continua sin disminución (por ahora), se engancha en Colombia y se esfuerza en manufacturar el mito donde el público, examinadores de patentes, y aplicantes de patentes todos estan muy felices con la OEP.



  15. La ‘Internacional’ Commisión de Comercio Impone/Reenfuerza Patentes de Software para Establecer Otro Embargo

    La Comisión Internacional (sic) de Comercio se esta entrometiendo en competición de nuevo permitiendo a un gigante de los Estados Unidos Ciso en este caso, a potencialmente bloquear rivales (no importaciones del extranjero) usando patentes de software.



  16. Links 9/2/2016: Linux in Robotics, Hyperledger Project

    Links for the day



  17. Besieged Benoît Battistelli Mimics 'Damage Control' Tactics of FIFA or Blatter as More Judges Start Getting Involved in EPO Scandals

    Rumours and a new rant from Battistelli reinforce suspicions that actions are being organised behind the scenes, possibly as part of an upcoming, high-level campaign to unseat/dethrone Battistelli, who has become a reputational disaster to the European Patent Office (EPO), much like Sepp Blatter at FIFA



  18. Several Political Parties Directly Challenge the European Patent Office for Ignoring the Law, Not Obeying Court Orders

    Politicians make it crystal clear that the EPO, despite its unique status, cannot just raise its nose at the rulings of courts of law, definitely not in Dutch territory where the EPO operates



  19. Even the Legal Community is Upset at Benoît Battistelli for the Damage He Did to the EPO

    A recent article from lawyers' media (in German) speaks of the great damage (or mess) left by its current president, who has become somewhat of a laughing stock and growingly synonymous with farcical trials even in the circles of stakeholders, not just his own staff



  20. EPO Union (SUEPO) Getting Busted: “More and More People are Joining the Union, but Fewer and Fewer People Dare to Take on Leading Positions There.”

    The union-busting actions taken by EPO management in collaboration with Control Risks (for weak accusations against staff representatives) and FTI Consulting (for 'damage control') as described in a recent article, in the words of SUEPO lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld



  21. Microsoft's Copyrights- and Patents-Based Attacks on GNU/Linux Carry on

    The SCO case is still going on and Microsoft has just signed a patent deal with GoPro over its FOSS-based software, relating to “certain file storage and other system technologies”



  22. The EPO's Benoît Battistelli is the Dictator Who Can No Longer Dictate Like He Used to

    The European Patent Office's mechanism of oversight is starting to work just a little because, based on a new report from Juve, Battistelli is now reluctant to make proposals that would prove unpopular among delegates



  23. La Más Detallada Explicación (hasta ahora) de ¿Qué esta mal con la OEP?

    La insistencia de la OEP que permanece arriba de la ley no sólo est bajo fuego en los medios pero también esta siendo desafiada basado en personas familiares con la aplicabilidad de la ley a organizaciones internacionales.



  24. Links 8/2/2016: Vista 10 Nags Help GNU/Linux, Nautilus Updated

    Links for the day



  25. The European Patent Office “is Acting as Though the Law Does Not Apply to It.”

    An article from Nieuwsuur which provides the words of Liesbeth Zegveld (for SUEPO) and Guillaume Minnoye (for the European Patent Office), reaffirming the EPO's bizarre notion that it is above the law, even in the face of human rights violations and a court ruling against the EPO



  26. Microsoft-Connected FRAND Lobbying (Software Patents Against Free/Open Source Software) in Brussels

    Anti-Free/Open Source software (FOSS) talking points and FRAND (anti-FOSS) lobbying groups in Brussels as seen by proponents of FRAND, who also worked for Microsoft



  27. Latest Propaganda From the EPO's Management an Effort to Make the EPO the Tool of Megacorporations

    A quick roundup of some of the latest spin and paid-for (bought) coverage that helps introduce a distorted patent system whose beneficiaries are not European (or even people)



  28. 'Aversion to Change' Propaganda From the EPO Echoes or Parrots Lenin and Stalin

    The out-of-control EPO management is trying to fool the media by blaming staff representatives for getting fired, simply because they stood up to a highly abusive and megalomaniacal dictator



  29. The Gates Foundation Subjected to Criticism, But Over a Decade Too Late

    Reckoning and accepting the fact that even some in the media now openly speak about Bill Gates' corrupting influence in everything, including politics



  30. Links 8/2/2016: Zenwalk 8.0 Beta 2, Q4OS 1.4.7

    Links for the day


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