There are some things you can count on when it comes to new Android operating systems. First, they’re all named after sweet treats such as Gingerbread and Lollipop. Also, each one includes progressively better security features. Below, we’ll examine five security enhancements associated with Android Oreo.
- Restrictions on System Alert Windows
Android Oreo, like other operating systems before it, includes what are known as System Alert Windows. As you might guess from the name, they let you know about problems with your system or changes being made to it.
However, it was discovered that some hackers distribute ransomware through the System Alert Windows. They could potentially cover up the phone screen and make it so an affected device becomes inoperable through “overlay malware.”
The System Alert Windows in Android Oreo have limited size dimensions so they can no longer block parts of the screen you may need to access for continued phone use. Furthermore, there’s also an associated notification you can dismiss which removes an applicable System Alert Window.
Together, these features prevent a System Alert Window from becoming so disruptive that it makes your phone useless.
- An Improved Verified Boot System
Android devices have included what’s called a Verified Boot System for the past four years. It performs standard checks to ensure your system is working properly before your phone loads fully once you turn it on from a powered-down state. In Android Oreo, the Verified Boot System got an upgrade.
In addition to performing its usual checks, the feature also prevents your phone from starting if it detects the device was rolled back to an earlier version of the operating system. If someone steals your phone and attempts to tamper with it after reverting back to something not as current as Oreo, the Verified Boot System prevents it from going through the start-up process.
- An Even-Better App Scanner
Among the numerous perks that are part of the Android Oreo operating system is a harder-working version of Google Play Protect. It scans over 50 billion apps every day, regardless of if you’ve ever checked them with your phone’s protective software, such as a virus scanner. Machine learning enables the service to spot whether an app is behaving erratically. Google Play Protect effectively keeps your device safeguarded from apps that don’t do as they claim or may be developed by people with ulterior motives.
This feature is particularly handy considering how many professionals choose to integrate their mobile phone into their employer’s phone network to enjoy seamless communications whether talking to a best friend or a client. If doing so involves downloading and using a third-party app, the beefed-up Google Play Protect could make taking that action less risky for the employee and employer.
- A Google-Powered Wi-Fi Assistant
Android Oreo marks the first time the Wi-Fi Assistant is available for Android in such a broad form. Once restricted to Nexus devices and Google Pixel phones, it automatically connects you to trustworthy open hotspots, making it possible to save data without thinking.
Besides doing that, it also connects you to a Google-managed VPN so all your data goes through a private tunnel and stays secure. Since public hotspots are undeniably convenient but notoriously unsecured, this feature offers the best of both worlds.
- New Kernel Protections to Benefit Developers and Users
Kernel bugs reportedly accounted for one-third of all Android security issues last year. It’ll be interesting to see if that figure drops in the years ahead — especially since all Android devices with Oreo include better kernel protections, including some tailored to developers who could find such vulnerabilities before shipping new devices to users.
You’ve just read about five impressive security boosters contained in Android Oreo. Although many of them work in the background, they’ll do a lot to keep your device free from problems and safer from hackers.