Updated Android 4.3 Jelly Bean A Lot More Safer With SELinux?
People are more scared of malware on Android now than ever before, and it has been considered a serious issue all over the world. Smartphones these days have almost all the possible information that can be miss-used.
A week ago, Google announced the latest iteration of Android – Android 4.3 Jelly Bean during a press breakfast in San Francisco. The long-awaited OS update was a mixed bag. Some people were disappointed that it wasn’t Key Lime Pie, but most were happy to see a plethora of improvements, some new features, and even more optimizations. One little footnote that most people have skimmed over so far, though, has been the added security.
Well, apparently Google is going to fix this problem themselves. JR Raphael over at Computer World has written up an excellent post about how Google is quietly keeping us safe. As it turns out, that little footnote that says that Android 4.3 Jelly Bean contains security improvements probably shouldn’t have remained a footnote. It should’ve been printed on billboards and discussed everywhere.
The Android 4.3 Permission Manager, commonly known as Apps Ops. This nifty little feature lets you control what permissions your apps can use. So It lets you selectively disable some permissions for your apps. Is some misbehaving app constantly pinging your location and draining your battery in a few hours? You can fix that now. It’s still in beta right now, but eventually that’ll be a part of everyone’s Android experience.
So what other security enhancements does Google have in store for Android 4.3 Jelly Bean?
According to JR Raphael, Google has been working on these security features for years.
- Starting with Android 4.2, there was a feature called Verify Apps that was added. This scans phones both downloaded and side-loaded to make sure they didn’t contain malware or pose a threat.
- Verify Apps was eventually made available to all devices from 2.3 onward. According to JR Raphael, that’s 95% of Android devices running currently.
- This now works in tandem with another older feature, the app scanner in the Google Play Store that scans apps as they’re submitted to Google Play to make sure they aren’t malicious. This is why you can always download from Google Play without worries. All of these features are currently on Android devices right now.
But wait, there’s more. In Android 4.3 specifically, they have added yet another security feature called SELinux. This stands for Security-Enhanced Linux and it essentially keeps the important parts of your phone safe. Most notably the operating system. So there is protection everywhere.
- An app scanner in the Google Play Store that scans every single app uploaded and submitted. It rejects the bad apps and keeps the good ones.
- A system on devices from Android 2.3 and up called Verify Apps that scans every app that gets installed on your device to make sure it’s not malicious. Keep in mind that if you download an app from the Google Play Store, it gets scanned twice.
- Apps Ops –which is still in beta– that will let you control the individual permissions of any application you download and install. So if you don’t want, say, Facebook to see your location, you can prevent that from happening.
- SELinux, a Linux security feature that protects the core operation system functionality.
So without an anti-virus app, there are 6 things that are protecting you from the big bad malware threats. That’s a whole lot more than most people realize and it’s an ever expanding project from Google to keep everyone safe from garbage applications.