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. Microsoft Essentially Sends Malware to Windows and Bricks It

    Microsoft is once again bricking Vista 7, demonstrating lack of reliability or very low quality programming



  2. Microsoft Lays Off Staff, Cheapens Labour as More Companies Are Dumping Microsoft's Lock-in, NSA-Friendly Services, and Windows

    A look at some of Microsoft's latest woes, including an appeal for cheaper labour amid decrease in business



  3. Links 19/12/2014: Robolinux 7.7.1 LXDE, Red Hat Thriving

    Links for the day



  4. Another Microsoft Partner Markets Linux FUD Using Logo, Name, and Lies

    Microsoft's partner Alert Logic is trying to label a feature of Linux a security flaw and even makes marketing buzz for it



  5. Redmonk is Spreading Black Duck's Anti-GPL Talking Points After Payments From Black Duck, Microsoft

    CBS' ZDNet spreads the GNU-hostile narrative which comes from Redmonk, funded by Microsoft and Black Duck, citing Black Duck, which also comes from Microsoft and is a partner of Microsoft



  6. 'Good' Software Patents From EA Show Cases Where DRM is a Patent Infringement

    Where two evils collide the public benefits, or how some software patents discourage the use of DRM



  7. Richard Stallman: What Does It Mean for Your Computer to Be Loyal?

    New article from Richard Stallman



  8. Links 18/12/2014: LinuxQuestions.org Polls, Fedora for POWER

    Links for the day



  9. Links 16/12/2014: Google and ODF, Civilization: Beyond Earth Comes to GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  10. Bill Gates' Pet Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as Founder Quits

    Intellectual Ventures founder leaves after an exceptionally large round of layoffs, despite [cref 77299 recent subsidies from Sony and Microsoft]



  11. Keeping Software Patents Out of Europe Following the Demise of Software Patents in the US

    Instability in the EPO seemingly prevents further expansion of patent scope, which is the subject of scrutiny of EPO staff



  12. Links 15/12/2014: OSI 2014 Annual Report, GPLv2 Court Test

    Links for the day



  13. Links 14/12/2014: Calligra 2.9 Beta, Krita 2.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  14. Software Patents Are Dying in the US, But Patent Lawyers Refuse to Admit It

    Patent lawyers continue to distort the reality of software patents' demise in the United States



  15. Links 13/12/2014: Android Wear “Lollipop”, European Commission and FOSS

    Links for the day



  16. Time to Take Microsoft Out of British Aviation Before Planes Crash Into Buildings

    London's mighty Heathrow Airport among those affected by a Microsoft-reliant air traffic control system which is not being able to properly recover from an outage, and not for the first time either



  17. News From France and Germany: Battistelli Under Fire, But Not Fired Yet, Just Firing His Opposition

    The régime headed by Benoît Battistelli and his criminal deputy continues to overthrow or pressure out everyone who is not 'loyal' to the régime



  18. Links 12/12/2014: Linux++, KDE Frameworks 5.5.0, Calligra 2.8.7

    Links for the day



  19. The USPTO is Broken: New Evidence Presented

    The scope of patents, as evidenced by some statistical figures and individual patents, shows that the USPTO is broken and must be reformed or dismantled



  20. US Patent Reform (on Trolls Only) More or Less Buried or Ineffective

    An update on efforts to reform the patent system in the United States, including the possibly imminent appointment of Michelle Lee to USPTO leadership role



  21. Software Patents in Canada Not Dead Yet

    Canada's patent status quo increasingly like that of the United States and Canadian giants like BlackBerry now pose a threat to software developers



  22. Dreaming of a Just Christmas: When a Third of EPO Walks Out to Revolt and European Judges Attack the EPO Over Abuses

    Information about the abuses of Battistelli et al. at the EPO are finally receiving wider coverage and increasing the strain on Battistelli's authoritarian reign



  23. Links 11/12/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta, Firefox 35 Plans

    Links for the day



  24. Ubuntu Core Announcement is Not About Microsoft and Hosting Ubuntu on Azure is Worse Than Stupid

    The power of media spin makes the idea of hosting Free software under the control of an NSA PRISM and back doors partner seem alluring



  25. France Gets Involved in Battistelli's Abuses in the EPO - Part XII (Updated)

    The EPO scandal has officially spilled over to France, where a French Senator got involved and starts asking serious questions



  26. Rolling of Heads Likely Imminent at EPO

    The European patent system is shaking as management breaks the rules, staff is protesting against the management every week, and charges of corruption resurface



  27. Links 11/12/2014: systemd 218, Empire Total War

    Links for the day



  28. Links 10/12/2014: Fedora 21, Ubuntu Core

    Links for the day



  29. Links 9/12/2014: Fedora 21 and Torture Report Are Out

    Links for the day



  30. Exclusive: The Enlarged Board of Appeal Complains About Battistelli's Corrupt Management to the Administrative Council (Updated)

    Text of the complaint from the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) reaches Techrights, demonstrating just how rampant the abuse in Battistelli's EPO has become


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