Categories: Technology

New Android 11 security feature is a game-changer

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The upcoming Android 11 mobile operating system is expected to feature a game-changing security feature.

For many years now, Google’s Android operating system is a favorite target for hackers. Now, the Android 11 version of the OS has a revolutionary feature that can put an end to this.

The majority of Android hacks can be traced back to what tech experts call “permission abuse.” Many malwares disguise themselves as legitimate apps and ask user permission. Once the user grants permission, it will then unload its malicious payload.

The main problem

Before an app can use a particular feature like a camera or access to contacts, users must first give them permission. Apps usually ask permission to track user location and other device data for them to properly function. However, malicious hackers are using the same tactic to deliver their attacks.

While some of these malwares do not render their targets completely useless, many collect private user information. Among the most popular type of data being hoarded are user location, browsing habits, and audio recordings.

A security researcher tested this security flaw by creating a simple flagship app. After the target successfully installs the app, the researcher asked for a handful of permissions. The researcher found out that apps as simple as a flashlight can request as much as 25 permissions.

Cutting permission abuse on Android 11

Google is trying to fix this loophole by adding a new feature on the upcoming Android 11. The tech giant says that it is limiting permission requests to critical components like GPS, camera, and microphone.

Google said that once the update rolls out, it will reset all granted permissions to apps that are rarely used. Moreover, the update will also force apps to update their permission status if they are dealing with phone numbers.

Another update that comes with Android 11 is the feature that will allow users to grant a “one-time only” permission. By using this feature, users will only grant a particular app a single-use permission. After that, the permission will reset itself.

This “one-time only” feature is great, especially since users tend to forget to cancel the permissions they grant to apps. It is a simple workaround that defeats many hacking strategies that are common in many malwares.

The Android 11 beta is already out, so users and developers can test it.  Google has yet to officially confirm the release date, although many expect it to roll out within this year.

Image courtesy of Stephen Frank/Unsplash

Yen Palec

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Yen Palec

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