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The value of openness in Android security


In case you use an Android phone or tablet, there are a variety of advantages that come from Android’s open nature–customization and selection are the obvious. However an ceaselessly overpassed advantage of openness is safety: by using creating within the open, somebody can test Android’s code to substantiate that it’s devoted or uncover areas the place it may be better. Moreover, the safety neighborhood may also write code to make Android enhanced and offer protection to it towards unrealized assaults.

Google has all the time labored carefully with the safety business to make the products you employ safer and safer, and we wished to spotlight a number of up to date examples of that cooperation on Android:

  • Android, now a part of the Google Patch Reward Program: That’s right, Google actually pays developers when they contribute security-related patches to popular open source projects, and Android is now a part of this program. As a user, this means that you have the broader security community looking out for you and preventing possible threats, before they are acted upon. 
  • Security improvements in Android 4.4, from the community: In Android 4.4, we reinforced the Android sandbox (which prevents applications from extending outside of their own area and damaging other parts of a device) by putting SELinux into enforcing mode, providing one of the strongest security systems available. The core of SELinux, as well as many of the Android specific extensions have been contributed by third-parties through open source, an example of real security improvements from the community you can use today. 
  • Pwn2Own Mobile, with Android: Android was a contributor to the bounty in this year’s PacSec Security conference, the place groups of safety researchers tried to take advantage of common mobile devices. And whereas no take advantage of was once present in Android on the Nexus devices supplied, we have been prepared and ready to create a patch within the adventure of an make the most! 

The Android workforce works very intently with the safety analysis neighborhood at massive to foster public discussions and put in force enhancements akin to those above. This openness has helped make the Android phone or tablet you raise with you on a regular basis way more stable.

Posted by way of Adrian Ludwig, Android Safety Engineer