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Network Activity Monitoring by Apps Restricted in Android P

May 8, 2018
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New information just released about Android P is good news if you are concerned about your network activity being monitored by apps. We just learned that with the new Android P, the apps will be restricted. It will be restricted when it comes to monitoring your network activity. As you might not know, apps have had unrestricted access to your network activities. Read on to learn about how the new Android P system will work regarding restricting apps from monitoring various activities on your network.

Network Activity Monitoring by Apps Restricted on Android P

The good news here is that Google is finally going to do something about the apps having unrestricted access to your network activity. All previous Android versions, including Oreo and Nougat, have allowed for this unrestricted access. You do not have to give permissions or grant any special privilege. That unrestricted access is definitely bad for the Android user. There are a lot of issues with this. If you have an app that is using the network connection for something bad, then you may run into problems.

The apps themselves are able to figure out when another app on the Android device is connecting to a server that is external. The only good thing is that the content itself is not seen by the other apps. That does not stop bad things from happening though. This is one of the biggest security issues concerning Android right now. There is even more attention being drawn to the problem due to recent privacy issues. One of the biggest privacy issues has been Facebook, as you probably know by now. The only real downside to this news is that the protection to keep apps from accessing your network activity is going to be limited.

Apps Monitoring Network Activity Targeting API 28 Will be Restricted

The biggest problem with this news is that it will only be impacting the apps that are specifically targeting API 28. API 28 is Android P, so it does not impact lower Android versions. Any other apps targeting lower API groups will still be able to monitor the network activity on your Android. As long as the app has targeted API 28, you will no longer have to worry about those apps monitoring the network activities. That means that tracking through this method will no longer be an issue. The security flaw still needs to be addressed for the other Android versions.

To get a little more in-depth about the issue, only the VPN apps that have been designated will be able to access the network. The specific files in question are the TCP and UDP. That means the network activities will only be able to be interpreted if it is one of the VPN apps that have been designated. The access is being restricted on the proc/net, which is how network activities are tracked. In 2019, the apps will all be forced to get to API 28, so all apps eventually will have this restricted access. Until 2019, most other apps and Android devices will still have this unrestricted access to the network activities.

Network Activity Restriction Remains Unclear on Older Android Versions

One of the things we are not sure about right now, is whether or not the new network activity changes will be coming to previous Android versions. The updated apps are going to have this extra security. From what we hear, it will be only on the newest Android operating system, which is P. Previous Android versions and older apps have not yet really been targeted by this change. The Google I/O is happening this week, so we are hoping that more details about this will be released. During this Google I/O, the Android P second developer preview will be released, so we are hoping to get more details as the days go on.

Another issue is that there are a ton of apps out there that do monitor network activities. We do not know what will happen to these apps that are meant to monitor network activities. There likely is going to be a workaround for these legitimate apps on Android. At this point in time, we are not privy to those details yet. Even though we still are lacking some details, this news should be good for those concerned about privacy.

That is especially true in the environment today of apps using your data and information without your consent. As we get more information on this change for Android P, we will update you with those details. We want to hear from you on what you think of Android P. Do you think the change is going to be good for the privacy-conscious out there? If you are one of the people who have seen Android P in the developer preview, tell us what you think about it in the comments below.