Android 4.2 pushing security hard: possible new features explored

Android 4.2 pushing security hard: possible new features explored
Android 4.2 Alpha already gave us clues that Google is stepping up security, but digging deeper into the Alpha reveals just how serious the company gets about safety. Not all of the features found in the code are guaranteed to arrive in the final version, just like multi-user access is in the code of Jelly Bean, but is not yet made available to users.

With that in mind, first comes Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux). The kernel add-ons makes it so that apps don’t have access to all files. You can pick from three options from SELinux: Disabled, Permissive and Enforcing. Permissive will log apps activity but won’t actually block apps root access and Enforcing does just that - blocking apps for maximum safety. This will bring almost desktop-like security options to Android, and with so many reports (true or not) about malware on the platform, it’s most definitely good news.

Secondly, the code mentions VPN lockdown. This is a change from the current model that allows data to be sent over regular connection when users sign out of a VPN network, and that won’t be possible with this new feature.

Finally, and probably most importantly, Android gets itself effectively rid of SMS scam schemes. How? Some apps work undercover sending paid text messages to select numbers without letting you know about it. You’d still have to pay hefty sums for those texts. Now, Google will simply detect whenever an app sends such a message and put out a message right away to warn you.

All of those seem like that extra coating of security Android needs, and shows how quickly the mobile OS is advancing and approaching desktop-like level.

source: Android Police



1. Luuthian

Posts: 332; Member since: Sep 09, 2011

The more and more Android becomes like a desktop OS the less and less I'd be surprised if we see PC's vanish in the future. Eventually all you'll need is a monitor connected to a cellphone dock, and a wireless mouse and keyboard. Voila. Full PC. Seeing devices like the Padfone 2 only make this eventuality more likely.

10. dickwyn

Posts: 621; Member since: May 07, 2012

but you still won't see android replacing the PC in the too distant future

11. p0rkguy

Posts: 685; Member since: Nov 23, 2010

I think it will start becoming "mainstream" in 5 years. Gaming is really the only thing keeping PC alive.

15. cj100570

Posts: 204; Member since: May 12, 2009

And video editing. And photo manipulation. And any serious work that you need to get done!

17. buccob

Posts: 2972; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

I agree... But there is a great number of people... that just uses a PC or laptop for web browsing and basic office editing... And that is really close to be replaced by a tablet or a phone such as the PadFone 2 for that matter...

19. Luuthian

Posts: 332; Member since: Sep 09, 2011

Yeah for now... But all of that will be replaced once you can run those programs on your phone. As I said, you'll simply attach your phone to a dock, which is connected to a monitor, and it will automatically change modes and become a full PC. I agree that this'll take about five or so years to become mainstream... but I think it's inevitable that it will happen at some point. That includes gaming... Apples new A6 chip is potentially more powerful than anything a 360 can produce. I think that's telling of the future.

21. tr00don

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 25, 2012

Exactly. And software development. One should not mistake the consumption device for the development & production system. Obviously, Amazon and Apple want you to believe the contrary. Remember when Steve Jobs infamously said that tablets smaller than the iPad are useless because of the size of people's thumbs? Well, now they make one. The "truth" is whatever the marketing strategy of a handful of large corporations.

2. pokharkarsaga

Posts: 553; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

so soon i will boot 2 operating systems on my desktop(Windows 8 & Android 4.2).Android getting better and better.

3. someones4

Posts: 628; Member since: Sep 16, 2012

Ahhh.. Google never disappoints. See that Apple? You can brag about having a secure os anymore. Google will topple you sooner or later... Android is truly revolutionary.

18. metalpoet unregistered

my iphone 4s isnt secure at all, it receives spam ad texts all the time. But my android doesnt receive those spam texts haha!

4. AmitMajumder

Posts: 178; Member since: May 21, 2012

Android is the ruler...

5. gothicheart

Posts: 83; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

"and shows how quickly the mobile OS is advancing and approaching desktop-like level." wow, how biased can you be, android is way to slow in implementing SOMETHING THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE FROM THE START...and saying "but is not yet made available to users", only shows that android now is not secure. oh man, goodluck with that. Just take note of the date that this article was posted and when it will be implemented

7. bloodline

Posts: 706; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

ios fanboy is butthurt that android is a more advanced ecosystem than child like ios. Deal with it

8. nagabiru003

Posts: 11; Member since: Jun 04, 2012

heh, you just don't understand that sentence do you? you know, the one that ends with "......but is not yet made available to users."

16. Jobes

Posts: 364; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Coming from someone named "Gothicheart" Its hard to take you serious.

6. bloodline

Posts: 706; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

will always support android/google. Great company, looking after the consumer

9. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

"and shows how quickly the mobile OS is advancing and approaching desktop-like level." I can't agree with that, in more than one sense mobile OS (not only Android) are more secure than the desktop ones. Examples of security that is built in mobile OS and not in a desktop one: 1) Applicaitons need to pass trought the OS to call other applications, so they can be blocked or allowed by the user. 2) Applicaitons can't access the data or files of other apps, they are blackboxed that are only allowed to talk to the kernel. By default in a desktop OS the programs have access to all the files. 3) When installing you can check the rights the application will ask for (Have windows or linux ever told you that when installing a program?) So in general the mobile OS are built in to be more secure than desktop ones. The reason behind is that you normally have loads of sensible data in your phone, that you may or may not have in your computer: your friends phones and addresses being just one example.

12. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

Android will soon adopt it as corporate os too.....bye BB!!!!

13. Lawliet

Posts: 160; Member since: Jul 02, 2012

I just hope they will keep allowing sideloading apps Meh, just root

14. tokuzumi

Posts: 1919; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Android seems to be on a roll lately. The versions up to Gingerbread were more evolutionary. It always got better, but wasn't a huge departure from the previous version. Since Duarte came over from Palm, Android has seem some major changes, in both UI, and functionality. Having greater OS security is always a good thing. Android is on top right now, and they are not resting on their laurels. This is good news.

20. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Shooting down one misconception at a time. You're on a roll, Google.

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