Rooting is for the naive

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bwhite82

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Be wary of rooting your phone

**Warning 1: Not starting flame war, give the post its due credence, before bashing me or locking/deleting thread, thanks!**

**Warning 2: somewhat lengthy post**

I was just reading the 2.1 update thread which was started yesterday. I kept seeing posts from 2 groups:

The rooters - Extolling the virtues of their rooted droids

The unrooted - Extolling the virtues of their unrooted droids

This back and forth banter between the two groups made me smile and begin to reflect upon my 15+ years in computing and the lessons that I have learned.

//begin boring-you can skip this//
Firstly, some background on me. I am 28 years young and started out on PCs just as they began booming in the early nineties. I became a full-out geek pretty much from the get-go. I had a 486 PC with Windows 3.11/DOS with maybe a 100mb HD, can't remember. Shortly thereafter, the AOL boom hit. Anyone remember "punters" and "server rooms". No? Not surprising. I was a geek even on AOL.

Only a few years later, I installed my first Linux distro, Suse. Since then, I have not looked back at Windows, installing various distros from year to year, eventually settling back to OpenSuse (my current distro). I have become the goto-guy for fixing all of my friends' and families computers. During these years, I have learned quite a bit about not only PCs in general but the software that is installed in them, ESPECIALLY the Windows crapware (ie virii, trojans, adware, spam, etc).

//end boring//

It is with this bolded sentence on which I wish to make my point. You spend a great deal of your time holding an incredible device. A device that has wifi capabilities, GPS location, email, web-surfing, and so much more. It is precisely because of these capabilities that your phone can be exploited oh so easily.

Not to take anything away from these fine coders who are releasing these custom roms. But I have to ask you, how well do you really know them? Do you know them well enough, that you don't mind if your keys are logged and emailed to a remote server? How about letting them borrow your credit card? Or letting them know your whereabouts via GPS at any given time?

For my part, I say nay. I would need to know someone lifelong to be that trusting. I want to make it VERY CLEAR to whomever is reading this:

I am NOT advocating that any custom ROMs are rigged against you. I only wish to make you aware how you open yourself up to a potential fifteen year old coder who wants to make a name for himself in the "L337" underground.

Be a bit more cautious in what you install on your phone. The Android OS is linux-based. Meaning, you need root privileges in order to make certain changes. That is one of the strongest security points for Linux over Windows. But wait! Conveniently, these Roms root for you! How novel!

If you are a coder, and you can open up these ROMs and pinpoint exactly what is happening inside of them, kudos for you. You should be the ONLY ones who feel completely safe and smug running these. To those that can't, be wary, always. That is all and I hope I didn't anger too many with this. Twas not my intent.

Woof.
 
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adrynalyne

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Sounds like you have never rooted.

Like Linux, apps must be granted permission. Thou can giveth permission, and thou can taketh away. those who run it wide open throw caution to the wind, but 99.9% of the rooters out there are not doing that.


I've been using Linux for almost as long as you have been using PCs ;)
 

mjs31

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Probably not best title. Calling all of us Naive and then saying to give the article a fair shake LMAO

Most of us know the risks. I know I do and could really care less. I prefer the non boring life and like seeing whats coming my way.
 
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bwhite82

bwhite82

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Sounds like you have never rooted.

Like Linux, apps must be granted permission. Thou can giveth permission, and thou can taketh away. those who run it wide open throw caution to the wind, but 99.9% of the rooters out there are not doing that.


I've been using Linux for almost as long as you have been using PCs ;)

Did you read the post. I alluded to the same point. And yes, I rooted and unrooted in quick fashion.
 

adrynalyne

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Yep, I read it. I also read the title which says something else. I think its naive to assume that the phones are being left wide open and subject to malicious intent, either installed, or from the ouside.

FWIW, I run my own ROMs.
 

toddegreene

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The same goes for all the apps in the marketplace, as there is no vetting procedure. And they don't need root to collect information. We may as well not install any apps, or get an iPhone.
 
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mills

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Interesting, thank you.

I remember punters too, lol.
 
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I would not call rooted uses naive. Everyone knows the risks when rooting, if they are really there.
 

tehpriest

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I think a fair point is being made. Even the swipe keyboard I installed warned me about the possibility of it having a Key Logger. I do not process any vital information through the Stone though so I went ahead. I did think that this was what open source was all about though. That if there was a rogue they would be quickly outed by the others in the know.
 
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I think a fair point is being made. Even the swipe keyboard I installed warned me about the possibility of it having a Key Logger. I do not process any vital information through the Stone though so I went ahead. I did think that this was what open source was all about though. That if there was a rogue they would be quickly outed by the others in the know.

Agreed, the Android community is not dumb. When something is posted on the forums, and a ton of people check it out and put in their comments the probability of something bad is pretty low.
 

jsh1120

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Sounds like you have never rooted.

Like Linux, apps must be granted permission. Thou can giveth permission, and thou can taketh away. those who run it wide open throw caution to the wind, but 99.9% of the rooters out there are not doing that.


I've been using Linux for almost as long as you have been using PCs ;)

Well, I've been a Unix hacker for about 30 years, so I think I probably have a few years on both of you. And I agree completely with the OP. The notion that 99.9% of the "rooters" out there are not "throwing caution to the winds" is simply silly. Given the questions I see everyday on this forum I have to say that it's closer to 99.9% who don't have a clue what they've done by assuming superuser power and downloading an operating system from someone they know only by a screen name.

Don't get me wrong. "Rooting" can be a fun and educational experience. And as long as one is running the risk only of messing up an operating system on a device that costs between $30 and $300 it's a relatively cheap hobby. But if one's phone is an essential tool, much less if it's a tool that you carry around with your credit card numbers and other personal information, rooting and downloading an operating system from an unknown source is a very risky proposition.

P.S. My only quibble with the OP is that the title of this thread should be "Rooting is NOT for the naive." And unfortunately, my impression is that the term applies to a lot of people who are "rooting."
 
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adrynalyne

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Well, then we will have to agree to disagree.

I could go on the merits of how cellular in general isn't safe, and GSM has been hacked how many times? Didn't need root for that!!! Or how about OS X machines that hacked yearly, without running as root?

Assess the risk, and make the choice. But to say rooting is for the naive....is well....naive.
 

pc747

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As a person who rooted, and love the root access; I say calm down on the op he makes a good point. He is not saying not to root; he is saying (correct me op if I am wrong) to not jump on every rom you see out there with out doing some research first.
In a way he is right. People now jump on a rom as soon as it is released and when they have problems do not know how or what is happening. Just take your time and research the developer before you open up your 600 dollar device to somebody who hacked something up in his basement.
I am not direspecting the devs because they do good work, but make sure you know what is going on.
 
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