Android powers hundreds of millions of mobile devices in more than 190 countries around the world. It’s the largest installed base of any mobile platform and growing fast—every day another million users power up their Android devices for the first time and start looking for apps, games, and other digital content. On top of that, nearly 2 billion app downloads happen every month, and extraordinary number of activity for an open-source platform.
The great thing about the Android platform is that it offers great salary for developers, it’s relatively easy to learn (not to mention, free to learn), and there are tons of resources on the web that document both the development process, and the marketing part of upbringing apps to the market.
Up until now, it wasn’t very common to find deep security apps on the market, ones that would mimic the functionality of a professional desktop or laptop computer, but as technology evolves and developers begin to explore new areas, a number of tools are starting to make their appearance on the free market, otherwise known as the open-source community. In this post we will take a quick glance of what kind of Android apps are available, and what their main functionality is.
Tor is the most well-known internet privacy protection browser, which provides a specifically built browser with worldwide proxy access, specific addresses and the ability to completely disappear in terms of others knowing who is behind the wheel. The Orbot project is Tor for Android, helping you to maintain that same level of privacy on your mobile phone/browser as well. It brings the desktop functionality to your mobile.
With the enormous growth of the security industry, it’s only normal to come across apps that help with hardening your own security, and one of such apps is AFWall+ — Android Firewall, or basically an extensive iptables editor with a graphics user interface (GUI) for Android mobile devices. In turn, you gain access and control over the types of apps that able to access the active network.
Superuser is an Android application to allow or deny other apps to run as root. The only requirement is that you already have root access for this app to work. There is a lot more explanation and documentation available on the GitHub page.
There’s a good chance that you’ve got CarrierIQ installed on your mobile device by default, not all phones come equipped with it, but some do. It’s basically a very simple app that tells if your phone seems to host CarrierIQ elements or not.
Your mobile device can sometimes act like your little pocket drive, full of information and details about your life, and wouldn’t it suck to lose access to it, or have someone else intrude it? SecDroid hardens the android kernel by disable certain binaries that have internet access or can be used as an attack vector and by securing the TCP Stack using Systctl. This helps prevent some MITM (Man-In-The-Middle) and Spoofing attacks. It may also prevent some DOS (Denial-Of-Service) Attacks.
With this app, we’re turning the tables a little bit, and becoming a bit of security artisans ourselves. The Port Knocker will allow you to scan an address of your choosing for commonly and not so commonly open ports that you may want to penetrate or learn more about. I can see this being handy to many security analysts out there, especially if you’re on the go and need a quick way to do it.
The I2P network provides strong privacy protections for communication over the Internet. Many activities that would risk your privacy on the public Internet can be conducted anonymously inside I2P.
Mobile security industry can go really, really deep, with things such as fake base stations (known as IMSI fakers/catchers) being a real thing, you can never be fully aware of what is happening over the network, unless you begin to use apps such as SnoopSnitch. The app collects, analyses and parses all the mobile radio data to give you a better understanding (and warn you), of what’s happening in your current network radius. Easy to install, a must have.
Digital certificates are a real thing, and they protect billions of internet users every day, use this app to be one of the people who’s fully aware of the websites he’s visiting.
Free and Open-Source Security Apps for Android
It’s a lot of work to fully protect your mobile devices, surely the official mobile developers of Android and other platforms are always investing money, time and energy into building better practices, but hackers always have been and always will be — there’s always something that one can overlook, or miss, and in that case — we need to rely on the goodwill of open-source developers, such as those mentioned throughout this post.