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Smartphone Security And App Permissions

Discussion in 'Mobile Devices' started by James Martin, 2017/11/11.

  1. 2017/11/11
    James Martin

    James Martin Geek Member Thread Starter

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    As of now, we have a smartphone (Android - Marshmallow), and I am trying to figure out security options for the device. These things are not like an OEM computer were one can uninstall unwanted junkware programs and move on - and the part that concerns me the most is app permissions.

    Why the heck do apps need permissions (access to contacts, phone calls, etc,) anyway? I don't know of any Windows computer that asks such questions - unless Windows 10 fits that bill.

    Do Android phones come with built-in antivirus programs? If not, any recommendations, and does anyone here use an app to monitor for permissions - like Permission Dog?
     
  2. 2017/11/11
    retiredlearner

    retiredlearner SuperGeek WindowsBBS Team Member

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    Hi James, I run Malwarebytes on my Android Samsung S4's.
    I've got 2 S4 Galaxy GT i9505 phones I have "Rooted" and installed Marshmallow (Android 6) on one, and Nougat (Android 7) on the other.
    My wife's S4 is Standard and is running Lollipop (Android 5). All of these phones have Malwarebytes installed and minimal number of Apps.
    Just go to the PlayStore to get Malwarebytes free.
    Then go to Settings > Apps > and you can disable quite a number of Apps if you don't need/want them.
    I haven't used Permission Dog.
    The Apps request permissions > best read this:http://fieldguide.gizmodo.com/what-app-permissions-really-mean-1584767124?IR=T
    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: 2017/11/11

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  4. 2017/11/13
    James Martin

    James Martin Geek Member Thread Starter

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    Thanks, Neil.

    You mentioned rooting. I saw some info on that procedure last night, and at first, it looks illegal, but Google Play has quite a few apps devoted to this, so I assume it's a common practice for those that want deeper control of the operation system. I'll be exploring this option in more detail, although I know there are risks associated with it, and it will void a phone's warranty too - or so I'm told.


    Thanks, I did just that.
     
  5. 2017/11/13
    retiredlearner

    retiredlearner SuperGeek WindowsBBS Team Member

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    James, the reason most users 'root' the phone/tablet is to remove the "bloatware" the manufacturers install on the new phone. Yes, it does void the warranty and in the case of Samsung - you won't get any OTA updates from the manufacturer.
    I have learned and enjoyed doing this procedure as the phones I have purchased were being sold on our "Trademe" web site because the screen was broken. I have purchased these phone for around $35 to $65 and refurbished the phone by buying a new Digitizer and LCD screen assembly from HongKong for $115.00 (Post Free).
    The S4 Samsung is one of the easiest phones to dismantle and replace/renew parts. I end up with a smart phone that has cost me less than $200.00, works as brand new, takes excellent photos with a 13Mp front camera and very good 'selfies' with a 5Mp rear camera. It will take a 64GB microSD card and is your mini comp.
    Did I mention GPS as well!;):)
     
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  6. 2017/11/16
    TonyT

    TonyT SuperGeek Staff

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    On my Galaxy S7 I use an app called Package Disabler. It can disable almost any app without needing to have the phone rooted. S5, S6 & S7 devices are not easy to root. What I did was disable obvious apps and then to determine which other to disable I googled the app to find out if it's necessary or not.
     
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  7. 2017/11/18
    James Martin

    James Martin Geek Member Thread Starter

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    Tony, is that app unnecessary if the disable option is already present on the device? The disable option was already present for apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a few others.
     
  8. 2017/11/18
    retiredlearner

    retiredlearner SuperGeek WindowsBBS Team Member

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  9. 2017/11/19
    TonyT

    TonyT SuperGeek Staff

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    echo $experienced;
    I use that app because the built in app manager cannot disable all apps. That disable button is greyed out in a lot of cases.
     
  10. 2017/11/20
    James Martin

    James Martin Geek Member Thread Starter

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    Took me a while to figure it out, but I managed to get Package Disabler installed and working...

    How to setup Device Owner permission via ADB tool (BK Disabler)

    The app advised against disabling programs listed under the System column, but since Facebook, Twitter, and a few more unwanteds were listed there, I disabled them as well. My phone seems to be more responsive than before.
     
  11. 2017/12/01
    James Martin

    James Martin Geek Member Thread Starter

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    Getting back to permissions, does anyone know of a simple cache cleaner that doesn't ask for permission to read contacts, messages, phone calls, etc.? There is one app that says it's a widget (SLW Cache Cleaner) that fits the bill, but there is no way to open it after installation.
     
  12. 2017/12/01
    retiredlearner

    retiredlearner SuperGeek WindowsBBS Team Member

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    You don't need an App for cache clearing. Go to Settings > Storage > Tap on Internal Shared storage > Apps, System and Cached data are calculated > Tap on Cached data > Clear cached data? > OK > Return out.
     
  13. 2017/12/01
    James Martin

    James Martin Geek Member Thread Starter

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    Right, I was hoping for a one-touch solution, but I haven't found one yet that doesn't ask for the moon so to speak.

    If I find one, I'll post it here.
     
  14. 2017/12/01
    TonyT

    TonyT SuperGeek Staff

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    Gee wiz, all I had to do was install Package Disabler from the google play store.
    Package Disabler Pro+ Samsung - Android Apps on Google Play
     
  15. 2017/12/03
    James Martin

    James Martin Geek Member Thread Starter

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    That's a Samsung app. I have a ZTE phone. (should have mentioned that earlier).

    I had to go into the developer mode, install the software on my PC, and use command prompts to finish the job. Afterwards, it took a while to figure out what I could safely disable.
     
  16. 2017/12/03
    retiredlearner

    retiredlearner SuperGeek WindowsBBS Team Member

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    James, you do want to remove "bloatware" don't you?
    You're looking for an App with one-touch solution. o_O I have not found any easy ways with the cell phones (smartphones) to wipe/delete data/temp files/caches.
    It would be too easy to make a mistake:eek: If you put the phone into Recovery Mode, you can wipe Cache Partition.
    To do this:
    Switch off your phone.
    Press and hold Volume UP and Power Button simultaneously.
    When the phone vibrates - release the Power Button ONLY. (keep Volume Up pressed).
    When the Android System Recovery screen appears, (this may take a few seconds) Release the Volume key.
    Use the Volume DOWN key to scroll down to 'Wipe cache partition'.
    Press the Power Button to activate.
    When the wipe is complete - 'Reboot system now' is highlighted.
    Press Power Button to finish.

    I have done this many times on our phones, but there is NO one button approach to it. You need to follow the instructions carefully and always have the battery above 80% charge.
    I can't say that it works on ALL phones (haven't used a ZTE) but it is a normal Android feature like putting the phone in SAFE Mode.:cool:
     
  17. 2017/12/10 at 21:50
    James Martin

    James Martin Geek Member Thread Starter

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    Thanks, Neil, I'll look into this procedure.
     

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