Android has always been considered an operating system full of imperfections. Lack of a clear update schedule even for flagship devices, an abundance of garbage on Google Play and, of course, the constantly present danger of hacking. But if users successfully put up with the first and second drawbacks, then it is quite difficult for the vast majority to accept the third. Another thing is that Google, apparently, did nothing but create a security theater, not caring about the real protection of its customers, until international companies specializing in ensuring user privacy intervened.
The most dangerous applications for Android are pre-installed by the manufacturers themselves
British charity Privacy International has written an open letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, which has more than 50 subscribers. It urges top managers to take measures to ensure the safety of users Android, preventing opportunities for the spread of malware. However, the main complaint of the authors of the message is not at all the abundance of Trojan and virus software outside of Google Play, for which Google is not technically responsible, but in the pre-installation by manufacturers of programs that are contradictory from the point of view of security to their devices from the factory.
Where are the most dangerous applications
Google can protect users from malware, but somehow it doesn't really want
Today, 91% of malware is distributed without the participation of the official Google directory, says Privacy International. Nevertheless, some of the software that is dangerous for users is installed on smartphones by the manufacturers themselves or their partners. As a result, news appears on the Web that devices of a particular brand are spying on their owners using pre-installed applications. This becomes possible due to the fact that Google does not check the software of the manufacturers themselves, trusting them by default. But this should not have happened, the authors of the letter believe.
Applications that manufacturers pre-install on their smartphones from the factory actually have the status of system applications, firstly, acquiring extended functionality without the need to request the appropriate privileges from the user, and, secondly, preventing their removal. Therefore, it is necessary that Google equally checks not only the software that is hosted on Google Play, but also the one that comes with smartphones out of the box, and also builds in Android a mechanism for removing preinstalled software, the letter says. .
How to protect Android
In fact, the ideas described in the letter look pretty sound. After all, the inability to uninstall preinstalled apps is really a problem right now. Many manufacturers, wishing to support their partners, install their software on branded smartphones from the factory, and users have to suffer from this, since they cannot remove it. Even assuming that all this software is completely safe, it still has a negative impact on usability. Indeed, in this case, not only is additional memory consumed, but also the user cannot get the feeling that he is the rightful owner of his device.
Will Google be able to meet the requirements of the letter authors? Not sure. On the one hand, the search giant has the technical ability to organize a check of pre-installed applications to be sure that all the software that comes with smartphones out of the box is completely safe and guaranteed not to harm users. But, on the other hand, you need to remember about third-party shells that vendors install on branded devices. Thanks to them, they are free to change the operating system as they please, including by introducing third-party applications into it, without which, in their words, the performance of devices can be disrupted. And if so, then it will be impossible to oblige vendors to remove the installed software.