Android 8.0 Oreo Includes Boosted Security
New security features available on Android 8.0.
As smartphones have become more widely used around the globe, smartphone security has become ever-more important. Today, we use our smartphones as payment devices, communication tools to share our personal information, and a portal for our browsing habits.
Every smartphone out there provides so much valuable information to malicious organizations. As a result, we’re forced to put a lot of trust in both Google and Apple to ensure they keep our data safe.
Thankfully, the latest Android 8.0 Oreo update brings forth a large number of new security feature to keep its users safer than ever. This latest update will bring more security overhauls than we’ve ever seen before on Android so far.
Android 8.0 Oreo was originally announced earlier in 2017, so we’ve had quite a few months to go over exactly what new features are available on the operating system. As well as some top-level things, such as the Google Protect VPN and built in anti-virus software on Android Oreo, many improvements have been made behind the scenes.
A recent study was made on the new security changes to Android 8.0 Oreo. The study was carried out by Duo Security, and through their research they have found many interesting areas of improvement across the entire system.
Kyle Lady, senior research and development engineer at Duo Security mentioned, “With Android O, Google introduces a major re-architect of the Android OS framework. There are some big changes that will impact users, developers, and device manufacturers for years to come.”
Let’s take a look at some of the new security measures and improvements to Android 8.0 Oreo below.
Project Treble Explained
Project Treble is a new system feature baked into Android 8.0 Oreo that makes it far easier for OEMs to send out the latest software updates to their smartphones.
Android has historically been terrible for moving older smartphones onto newer software updates. This has given the entire ecosystem a huge vulnerability. When large loopholes, exploits, and hacks are found, Google isn’t able to patch it out of older devices soon enough because of the antiquated update process.
Thankfully, Project Treble has been designed to solve all of this. With Project Treble, the different firmware needed to run a specific smartphone model and the firmware needed to run Android are separated.
This allows Google to let manufacturers push out new Android updates as soon as they’re available, instead of forcing manufacturers to develop their own version of the latest updates that’ll work with the varying firmware across each individual Android device.
This will speed up adoption of new OS updates by a long shot and should stop older devices from being open to patched out threats.
More Permissions Control
In recent years, a big focus for Google has been app permissions. Google has made it far harder for apps to get access to system files unless it’s absolutely necessary for the app to function as advertised.
All of this has been accomplished through the app permissions system, a feature that is ultimately left down to the user.
In Android Oreo, more changes have been included to app permissions. Going forward, the Android system will no longer give users an option to allow all third party apps to be installed universally. Instead, users must accept or deny third party apps individually.
This new change should help to keep Android users from unknowingly installing malware from third party sources outside of the Google Play Store.
This approach will take us one step further towards a secure mobile OS that can prevent keylogging, SMS tracking, and GPS tracking through malicious third party apps.
One of the biggest exploits currently being used on older versions of Android is are overlay exploits. With an overlay exploit, it’s possible for a malicious app to place an invisible overlay over your smartphone display. This overlay can be used to track key presses or force a user to install an app or allow permissions to an app unknowingly.
With Android 8.0 Oreo, the new System Alert feature will make it clear to the user when an overlay app is activated. This way, overlay malware can be spotted and dealt with before it has a chance to collect any personal information.
Many Other Changes
The new Android Oreo update is filled with a variety of other security features to improve the general flow of the operating system and to keep it safe from malicious attacks and threats. You can learn more about the changes made to Android in the latest Oreo update here.