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Android Privacy Security Software

Yale Privacy Lab and Exodus Privacy's F-Droid Android App Store is a Replacement for Google Play That Features Only FOSS Apps That Don't Do Any Tracking (wired.com) 60

Google Play, the marquee Android apps store, is filled with apps that are riddled with hidden trackers that siphon a smorgasbord of data from all sensors, in all directions, unknown to the Android user. Not content with the strides Google has made to curtail the issue, Yale Privacy Lab has collaborated with Exodus Privacy to detect and expose trackers with the help of the F-Droid app store. From a report on Wired: F-Droid is the best replacement for Google Play, because it only offers FOSS apps without tracking, has a strict auditing process, and may be installed on most Android devices without any hassles or restrictions. F-Droid doesn't offer the millions of apps available in Google Play, so some people will not want to use it exclusively. It's true that Google does screen apps submitted to the Play store to filter out malware, but the process is still mostly automated and very quick -- too quick to detect Android malware before it's published, as we've seen. Installing F-Droid isn't a silver bullet, but it's the first step in protecting yourself from malware.
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Yale Privacy Lab and Exodus Privacy's F-Droid Android App Store is a Replacement for Google Play That Features Only FOSS Apps Th

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    These aren't the F-ing droids you're looking for ... :-P

  • Yay (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Now I can install all 4 Android apps that don't need access to everything on my phone.

  • Announce? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by el borak ( 263323 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @11:46AM (#55977981)

    What's to "announce"? I've been running F-Droid for years.

    • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
      I wish there was an easy way to switch apps from play store version to f-droid version.
      • Uninstall and reinstall? Not too difficult unless it's a lot of apps. Which it isn't because F-droid has relatively few useful apps.

        • The problem is apps that maintain a lot of state outside of the SD card and don't have good export / import functionality. It's slightly annoying having to reenter login credentials.

          I don't really like it, but given that the alternative is to allow two apps with different signing certificates to access the same data (even with a 'train the user to click yes to security questions' box), I'm willing to put up with it. Almost all of the apps I have on my phone now are from F-Droid.

        • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
          I'm envisioning something that would tell you what apps are installed from play and available on f-droid.
      • I've done it with Titanium Backup. Back up the app, dump it, load it from another source, restore your data. Of course, this is assuming the apps are at the same version level.

      • by dargaud ( 518470 )
        Aren't they the same ? One app I'd installed from the store simply showed up in the F-droid list as installed.
  • SO what is the news? (Score:4, Informative)

    by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @11:47AM (#55977989)
    It isn't clearly stated, but it seems the news is some additional collaboration to vet apps in F-Droid
  • Why bother running free software on untrustworthy hardware with untrustworthy firmware running an untrustworthy operating system?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ah yes, you're the retard who turns up on every security related thread saying "Why bother to have any security when you can't have perfect security"
      Why even close your front door, they can just smash a window?
      Why bother walking on the sidewalk instead of on the road, you can still get run over?

      Do you have any idea how stupid you sound?

      Malicious apps are probably the biggest security problem on the Android platform. If you can live with the limited selection, Fdroid gives you almost complete protection agai

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      Because the alternative is running a stick on a chunk of rock. There is no such thing as a trustworthy computer at this point. Even if you trust every bit of software you've installed, we keep seeing more and more proof that the hardware isn't trustworthy, and there are really no viable alternatives when it comes to CPUs, motherboards, and graphics cards.

      Given that, you have to chose between the risks of some software that isn't as trustworthy as you might want, or running nothing at all. Being that you pos

  • The headline is almost two full lines on my screen; longest yet on Slashdot?

    • I need to increase the text size once since it's too small by default. On my old 4:3 monitor it means that headline takes three full lines on my display.

  • by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @12:50PM (#55978595) Journal
    I ran F-droid a few years ago. Sure, the apps are FOSS, and in theory more secure. However, you have to allow non Play Store apps system-wide (unless something changed). This is a vulnerability I am not willing to accept. Especially since most of the apps on F-droid are in the Play Store too.
    • Yes, but it's not like apps can automatically install from other sources. You still have to accept them. Also, Google Play has all sorts of crooked, spying apps. It's not like it's an especially safe source. Better than most. Worse than Fdroid. I use both. I did uninstall Amazon Underground. That shit is pure spyware.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In Android Oreo you can control this per-application. Under Apps & notifications -> Special app access -> Install unknown apps.

      If you're stuck using a version of Android older than Oreo then disable the feature of installing from unknown sources when you're not using it and enable it when you want to install from F-droid.

    • Re:Worth The Risk? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by green1 ( 322787 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @02:57PM (#55979769)

      Something has changed. Allowing non-playstore apps is now assigned as a permission specific to each app. So you can let F-Droid install these apps without letting any other app do so.

      That said, the Play store has so much more content, of much better quality apps, that really the only use for f-droid is for apps that Google doesn't approve of, like ad-blockers (if you want one that actually works, you won't find it on the play store)

  • by ffkom ( 3519199 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @07:34PM (#55981831)
    ... devices. I have yet to miss anything, F-Droid has more "Apps" than I would ever want to install. My smartphone is still a phone, it is not a gaming console. Everything regarding communication or navigation is covered by the applications on F-Droid. Never felt a tickle to create a "google account" or to install anything from that "play store", which has a correct and telling name.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      +1, I was given an "old" mid range phone from 2014, unusable because it had only 8GB of storage and a plain android install would pretty much take 7.5GB...(with all the unnecessary google crapware that you can't remove).

      Installed lineageos without the gapps (google apps, requirement for playstore, facebook, etc). Now it takes around 2GB and run like a new smartphone.
      My only complaint would be the lack of push notification email without gapps.
      F-droid is fine, if you are out of the social media garbage.

  • you get open apps, without adware, build in trackers but have you looked at the size of them?
    much smaller then what you normally find on the play store, that is what you get when you leave out all of the bits nobody wants in the first place.

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