Brief: Google improves further the security of Android

Date : July 07, 2016

The significant fragmentation of versions of the Google’s operating system across smartphones directly involves security problems. Indeed, Google now releases monthly updates, but many users cannot benefit from them, because the various manufacturers do not or no longer offer updates to their customers.

Since Android KitKat (version 4.4), Google has been continuously improving the global security of its operating system. In particular, this version had introduced the « Verified Boot » feature based on a piece of software called « dm-verity », whose purpose is to verify the boot process of the device.

In Android Marshmallow (version 6.0), warning messages have been added. They appear in case of detection of a suspicious modification of the boot system, whose purpose is to allow the user to be alerted on the existence of a threat. These messages can be recognized thanks to a color code described below:

  • Yellow: your device has loaded a different operating system,
  • Orange: your device software can't be checked for corruption,
  • Red: your device is corrupted.

In the latest version of Android (v7.0) dubbed Nougat, Google requires manufacturers that the « Verified Boot » is mandatorily enforced on all devices shipped with this version of the OS. This security mechanism allows a strict check of the integrity of the image or the boot partition, and ensures that data have not been corrupted by a virus, a malware or a rootkit. If any problem is detected, the smartphone will no longer boot, or then eventually in a « limited mode », but only after getting the end user’s consent in order to protect his data.

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