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. Alice v CLS Bank (SCOTUS, 2014) Has Had a Profound Effect on 2017 as Nearly No Software Patents Upheld at a High Level

    As 2017 nears its end (less than two weeks left), a look back reveals a terrible year for proponents of software patents and a milestone for opponents of software patents



  2. PTAB Helps Defend and Encourage Work by Actual Technology Companies in the US, the Patent Trolls' Lobby is Upset

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which continues to invalidate software patents by the thousands, comes under attack from the expected sites, namely those that are fronting for patent trolls and parasites



  3. Patent Misconceptions Promoted in Media Dominated by the Patent Microcosm, Not Actual Innovators

    Examples from the media where popular myths have been promoted over the past few days, taking advantage of passivity and silence among those who actually create and invent



  4. Links 17/12/2017: KStars 2.8.9, GNOME 3.27.3, Parrot Security 3.10

    Links for the day



  5. Raw: Benoît Battistelli Has Long Been Obsessed With 'Alternative Facts' (Lying) Regarding Everything

    The chronic lying by Battistelli’s EPO goes way back and reveals a total lack of integrity, shedding doubt on just about any statement issued by the Office



  6. Raw: At the EPO “Social Democracy” is Actually a Euphemism for Authoritarian Regime

    An old document about the EPO‘s transition to so-called ‘social’ ‘democracy’ and what that means in practical terms



  7. Battistelli's 'UPC Buddy' Michel Barnier Helped Squash EU Intervention in Dysfunctional (Subverted by Battistelli) Administrative Council

    A look back at how Michel Barnier helped cover Battistelli's back, insisting that the Commission cannot do anything to rectify matters at the EPO (Elżbieta Bieńkowska, another UPC proponent, said something similar later)



  8. Raw: “Experienced Examiners Can Examine Anything.” (Even Not in Their Field!)

    An internal document shows how the EPO handles imbalance in filings, in essence shifting examiners to fields they are not familiar with



  9. Andrei Iancu in Charge of the United States Patent Office (USPTO) Would be a Patent Microcosm Coup

    The progression of Andrei Iancu's nomination/appointment is a reason for concern; it is, for a fact, a reason for optimism among patent extremists



  10. The Latest IAM Puff Pieces That Launder the 'Reputation' of Patent Trolls

    The creeping threat of patent extortion (litigation from companies that are empty shells with nothing but patents) does not worry IAM; instead, this is the vision IAM wants to actualise, having been paid by stakeholders in such a nefarious outcome



  11. The EPO Has Found 'Creative' New Ways to Bribe the Media and Promote Software Patents

    From Computer-Implemented Inventions (CII) and "Industry 4.0" the EPO is moving to creative new misnomers for carriers of software patents, SEP (patents-encumbered 'standards'), so-called 'FRAND' etc.



  12. EPO Busy Distracting From Miscarriage/Abuse of Justice at the EPO (Both Office and Organisation)

    The European Patent Organisation continues to be a vassal of the Office (Christoph Ernst is defending Battistelli) and justice is not being honoured; it's being discarded in the darkness (in secret meetings)



  13. Bristows LLP/IP Kat Carrying on With Dead UPC Jingoism

    The same old tune from Bristows not only gets played in Bristows' 'alternate reality' blog but also in other blogs where Bristows staff is 'contributing' (to confusion and misconceptions)



  14. Links 16/12/2017: Mesa 17.2.7, Wine 3.0 RC2, Kdenlive 17.12.0, Mir 0.29

    Links for the day



  15. Patrick Corcoran is Innocent, Yet Battistelli Will/May Have the Power to Sack Him Next Month (in DG1)

    The EPO's Administrative Council does not want to even mention Patrick Corcoran, as merely bringing that up might lead to the suggestion that Benoît Battistelli should be fired (yes, they can fire him), but to set the record straight, at the EPO truth-tellers are punished and those whom they expose are shielded by the Administrative Council



  16. Patent Trolls Are Going Bust in the United States (Along With the 'Protection' Racket Conglomerates)

    RPX continues its gradual collapse and patent trolls fail to find leverage now that software patents are kaput and patent opportunists struggle to access Texan courts



  17. IBM's Manny Schecter is Wrong Again and He is Attempting to Justify Patent Trolling

    In yet another dodgy effort to undermine the US Supreme Court and bring back software patents, IBM's "chief patent counsel" (his current job title) expresses views that are bunk or "alternative facts"



  18. EPO Administrative Council Disallows Discussion About Violations of the Law by Benoît Battistelli

    The EPO crisis is not ending for the Administrative Council does not want to tackle any of the obvious problems; Patrick Corcoran is a taboo subject and Ernst is coming across as another protector of Benoît Battistelli, based on today's meeting (the second meeting he chairs)



  19. Links 13/12/2017: GIMP 2.9.8, Fedora 25 End Of Life, AltOS 1.8.3

    Links for the day



  20. Judge Corcoran Got His User ID/Desk Back (as ILO Asked), But Cannot Perform Actual Work

    The latest update regarding Patrick Corcoran, whose 3-year ordeal is far from over in spite of ILO's unambiguous rulings in his favour



  21. The End of Software Patents and PTAB's Role in Enforcing That End

    Software patents are fast becoming a dying breed and the appeal board (PTAB) of the USPTO accelerates this trend, irrespective of patent immunity attempts



  22. No, China Isn't Most Innovative, It's Just Granting a Lot of Low-Quality Patents

    Patent extremists are trying to make China look like a role model or a success story because China grants far too many patents, spurring an explosion in litigation



  23. Battistelli-Campinos Transition Will Be a Smooth One as the Administrative Council Remains the Same and the Boards Still Besieged

    A rather pessimistic (albeit likely realistic) expectation from tomorrow's meeting of the Administrative Council, which continues to show that no lessons were learned and no strategy will be altered to avoid doom (low-quality patents and stocks running out)



  24. Links 12/12/2017: New BlackArch ISO and Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  25. German Media Helps Cover Up -- Not Cover -- the Latest EPO Scandal

    EPO-Handelsblatt attention diversion tricks may be effective as German media barely shows interest in one of the EPO's biggest scandals to date



  26. PTAB Haters Fail to Guard Bogus Patents, But They Still Try

    Three Affiliated Tribes probably won't enjoy sovereign immunity from PTAB, Dennis Crouch won't manage to slow down PTAB, and patent litigation will stagnate as bad patents perish before they even land in a lawsuit



  27. Team UPC's Tilmann Defends Rogue Vote at 1 AM in the Morning With Just 5% of Politicians (Those With Vested Interests) Attending

    Just when German democracy is being stolen by a legislative coup (in the dead of night when 95% of politicians are absent/asleep) there's someone 'courageous' enough to rear his ugly head and attempt to justify that coup



  28. The Mask Falls: Lobbyist David Kappos Now Composes Pieces for the Patent Trolls' Lobby (IAM)

    David Kappos, a former USPTO Director who is now lobbying for large corporations that derive revenue from patent extortion, is writing for IAM even if his views are significantly biased by his aggressive paymasters (just like IAM's)



  29. The EPO Protest Tomorrow Isn't Just About Judge Corcoran But About the EPO as a Whole

    PO staff is about to protest against the employer, pointing out that "Battistelli is still showing a total and utter lack of respect not only for his staff and their rights but also for the Administrative Council and for the Tribunal"



  30. Claim: Judge Corcoran to Be Put Under Benoît Battistelli's Control in DG1

    Benoît Battistelli, who openly disregards and refuses to obey judges (while intervening in trials and delivering 'royal decrees' whenever it suits him), may soon gain direct control over the judge he hates most


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