Android 4.2 spreads security to third-party app stores: here is how
If a user downloads apps from third-party app stores, however, he faces two possible threats: rogue/spyware applications and premium SMS apps.
Android 4.2 however effectively deals with those two last threats as well, and now we know how.
Bouncer, Google Play's security system in a nutshell
A little disclaimer to be perfectly exact: it is not impossible to circumvent the Bouncer system as it runs a virtual environment and that could be detected, but it is extremely hard to crack it. And given the consequences for the developer account that does, it is hard to imagine Android security cracked.
Now, Bouncer is pretty much a sealed box for the public. Reverse-engineering it, though, has revealed that what it does is effectively detect the most common threats from spyware and premiums SMS apps. If an app tries to steal your contacts, Bouncer detects it. If an app tries to send a message to a premium number, Bouncer detects it. If an app, steals your photos? You guessed it right, Bouncer detects it.
Android 4.2 brings Bouncer to sideloaded apps
The new service is not mandatory in a typical open Google fashion. The first time you try to sideload an app on your Android 4.2 device, a pop-up will appear asking you whether you want to verify apps. Best of all, when an app raises some red flags with its behavior, but can’t be definitely written off as malware, you get to choose whether to install it or not AFTER reviewing what it has access to. This way, even if you are paranoid about security, you still would not need to read every single time the components an app has permissions to access.
And even the permissions screen has been tweaked adding illustrative icons, so you can take a quick glance instead of reading it.
This is definitely another huge step for Android security and reiterates Google’s commitment to openness. Instead of leaving its app protection system for the Play Store only, the company spreads it to sideloaded apps and thus makes third-party app catalogs more secure. We can only applaud Google for that.
source: Computer World
App permissions on Android 4.1 (left) and 4.2 (right)
3. Victor.H (Posts: 462; Member since: 27 May 2011)
They are pretty much doing exactly that with the Nexus 4. The fact that it does not have LTE means Google was ready to make a huge sales compromise (obviously, you won't be able to get it subsidized on Verizon and AT&T) to make sure users get the best experience with updates. Now, let's hope this Nexus 4 gets the traction it needs to teach carriers a lesson about updates.
7. Aeires (unregistered)
If they treat it like Chrome and the N7, it should. It's great to see Google advertisements, they should continue that trend with the N4 and N10. Not only that, this is the most powerful Nexus yet so it's looking good for Google getting more established in circumventing carrier BS.
12. jan25 (Posts: 418; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)
i don't think they are doing a sales compromise. i am willing to bet this Nexus will do even better than many of it's predecessors mainly because of its price. many people don't care about LTE and 16 GB are plenty enough for the average user. the Nexus 7 is a great example of that. hopefully one day those carriers will surrender to Google's demand (instant updates and lack of bloatware) if they find the Nexus to be a great success.
4. SuperMaoriBro (Posts: 348; Member since: 23 Jun 2012)
I frappin love googles openess to do this sort of thing conpared to the closed almost arrogant feel of some other oses out there
5. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1057; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)
Superb, I'm liking your articles more and more Victor. Well written and very informative.
This feature help me some as I have two other app shops in my Android.
14. Ohrules (Posts: 325; Member since: 11 Jun 2012)
could you please consider comment no 9 on this article?
6. someones4 (Posts: 619; Member since: 16 Sep 2012)
it's official. Google is the best!!
Instead of barring users from sideloading apps, Google attempts to protect users from various threats regardless. A really good move.
8. Aeires (unregistered)
Awesome news, I see a lot of glass houses crashing down after some crowds read this. More people need to know about this so the FUD can stop.
9. itsjustJOH (Posts: 104; Member since: 18 Oct 2012)
Dear Phone Arena,
You guys should make an article explaining these components that apps try to access. Example, what does it mean when an app can modify and delete the contents of my USB storage? Does it only modify and/or delete the files that it create (i.e. those files that it needs to run) or does it also modify my personal files? Does it do this with my permission?
It'll be good if you could make one.
15. Victor.H (Posts: 462; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Thanks for the suggestion. It's a great idea, we'll try to make it happen.
11. pikapowerize (banned) (Posts: 1869; Member since: 03 May 2012)
maybe google is trying to do licensing now?
16. parkwaydr (Posts: 572; Member since: 07 Sep 2011)
Android to malware:
Respect my athoritaaa!!!!!
17. GeekMovement (Posts: 1521; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)
Android is just getting better and better.
18. parkwaydr (Posts: 572; Member since: 07 Sep 2011)
yes it is, and im loving every minute of it.