To Root or not to Root an Android is a never ending debate. Surely, rooting opens a window of opportunities for Android but then it also makes it vulnerable to security threats and voids the phone warranty, which are two major red flags.
In fact, phone security is one of the major concerns that most of the general public would prefer a non-rooted phone. However, if you have found the prospects of rooting more promising, then here are a couple of tips to secure your rooted Android device.
1. Install a Trusted Root Management App
Aforesaid, rooting lets you customize your Android to your heart’s content. Not only customization, it also lets you effectively manage the phone’s internal storage and run special apps. And these apps often need an administrator access to function.
This admin access can also be used by apps to dive deep into your phone’s memory to sniff out sensitive information like banking credentials or account information. Fortunately, we have root management apps to act as gatekeepers to keep off malicious intent.
These apps watches over the rooted apps and prompts the users every time an app requires admin access.
SuperSu is one of the best apps for granting super user access and its simple interface makes it easy to use. Plus, there is a number of customization option which you can enable.
2. Oversee Android App Permissions
So, now that you have installed a gatekeeper app, it’s natural that the rooted apps will ask for admin access or superuser access. And when these special apps ask for permissions, we often grant them without a second’s thought.
If it’s a ‘good’ app, it’s all hale and hearty. But consider this — giving the root access opens up your phone’s operating system and bypasses all of Android’s security features. Which means that the app will also have access to all of your phone’s data.
3. Get Apps from Secure Sources
The Google Play Store is often the source of most of the Android apps. Though it’s not the best, it’s one of the safest places from where you can download your apps. This is because Google regularly checks apps for viruses, malware or for anything suspicious.
But then, it’s not the only source of apps. Getting apps from an unknown location or downloading unsecured apk files can go a long way in doing more harm than good. They can include keyloggers or can prompt you to click on ads which might take vital information from you.
And while you are at it, don’t ignore the Android app permissions. Similarly, the same can be extended to unsecured websites as well.
4. Configure a Firewall
As mentioned before, rooting increase the potential of the phone and one of them is limiting or cutting off the app’s usage of the internet. On our post for the best rooted apps for Android, we had written about AFWall+ (Android Firewall +) which lets you choose the data network for all the individual apps of your phone.
So, if you’re suspicious of an app’s activity but need it at the same time, you can use this app to limit the network availability so that it’s not able to transfer data over the net.
5. Turn Off USB Debugging When Not in Use
As useful as USB debugging is for rooting, it also leaves your Android vulnerable to security threats. Though Google has a safety feature in place which prompts for permission whenever you plug your phone to an unfamiliar PC. But should your device fall into the wrong hands, all the data inside it can be stolen even if it’s password protected.
6. Keep the System Updated
If you are rooted user, you must be knowing that your phone can’t install the OTA updates, which means that you can lose out on some key security patches.
So, you’ll have to rely on the updates that the makers push for your custom ROM. Thankfully, popular ROMs like Cyanogenmod or Lineage also push out security updates regularly. However, if your ROM is not among them, be sure to go for a manual update if available.
7. Take a Data Backup
One of the major advantages of rooting an Android is that it lets you get rid of bloatware and services easily, which is almost impossible otherwise. Chances are you might end up removing some vital Google services which might render your phone useless.
In this scenario, it often advisable to have a backup of your data with a trusted app like Titanium Backup so that you have something to come back to on your next attempt.
That’s a Wrap!
Security is a never-ending practice and at times when the world is seeing a slew of attacks, you can never afford to let your guard down. In conclusion, it can be said that though rooting opens up loads of features, be ultra sure that the custom ROM you are installing in the first place is secure. Most of the popular ROMs like Cyanogenmod, Lineage or Paranoid should be downloaded from the official sites only. After all, we all have heard of key-loggers being present right from the start, haven’t we?