Android is a popular operating system based on the Linux kernel primarily used for the mobile platform. You can run this operating system on a wide variety of devices including smartphones, tablets, and even set-top boxes.
On the performance criteria, the operating system is as robust as the underlying processor of your mobile device. Security is always a prime concern for any mobile device. The android operating system offers various security features to make your applications more secure and usable.
Here Are Some Of The Key Security Features Of Android:
- Security through the Linux kernel – The security model of Android uses a Secure-Enhanced Linux for mandatory access control over all processes. The Linux kernel supports various system-level security features. The platform operates on a user-based permissions model and supports process isolation. It has a secure mechanism for IPC. The platform can remove any unnecessary and potentially insecure parts of its kernel. Further, the system prevents users from accessing other user’s resources and exhausting them in case of multiple system users.
- Mandatory application sandbox – The platform identifies and isolates app resources by using the Linux user-based protection. For this, the platform assigns a unique ID to every Android app and runs it as a separate process. This unique ID is used to set up the App Sandbox at the kernel-level. This segregation of applications at the process level prevents any interaction between applications and offers limited access to the operating system.
As a result, users get permission-based access control with a limited list of the activities. A similar procedure is followed for filesystem permissions wherein each application is assigned its own files which cannot be altered or read by any other application unless explicitly specified.
- Secure interprocess communication – The Android platform automatically encrypts the user-created data before committing. All reads from the disk are automatically decrypted when requested by the calling process. This encryption prohibits any unauthorized access from a third party. Further, the processes execute in a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE).
- Application signing – This feature helps developers in identifying the genuine author of the app. Further, the authors can update the apps without any complicated interfaces or permissions. The developers must sign every app running on an Android platform.
- Application-defined as well as user-granted permissions – Android supports user-authentication-gated cryptographic keys. These cryptographic keys require storage and authentication from the service provider and user. When a device uses a fingerprint sensor, users of the device can enroll fingerprints and use them to unlock the device. Similar signatures can be used to perform other tasks. This pattern/password authentication is performed by the Gatekeeper subsystem in a TEE. Higher versions also include Protected Confirmation for authenticating critical transactions like payments.
Security Scans For Android Applications
When developers create and test the security of Android applications, they should follow certain best practices and keep several security checks in mind, which include:
- Check for unsafe file creation
- Test inbound SMS listeners
- Check for improper storage in the database
- Verify if the shared preferences are used safely
- Look for storage of sensitive data
- Verify SQL injection by the content provider
- Check for APN or proxy modifications
The more recent technical security features of Android can be easily managed through the interface. For better security, always use a password or pin with your Android device, make sure your phone gets locked after minutes of inactivity, only use safe wireless connections, and only install trustworthy Android apps.
The advanced security of the Android operating system prompts every user to permit the installation of any new application making it impossible for an application to be installed or run remotely. Ensure further security of your Android device by installing regular system updates.