Six Key security features in Android Marshmallow 6.0
Many of us judge books by their covers, but do we judge books by their edition? Usually, no! But that may not be the case with smart phones. We come across people now and then who only ask us what version of Android your phone supports before raising an eyebrow when they find out it is not the latest.
With Google’s latest OS version Marshmallow out in the market, many of us are chasing it without paying any heed to what new features it offers. No doubt we have our own arguments for doing so especially because we know that after all the freshest is the most delicious, right?
Security and Privacy
We can only reminisce the time when watches were an indispensable part of our lives. Only when our phones run out of battery do we feel the need of watches now. But being unaware of time is not the only peril we face when our phones betray us.
In the contemporary world, mobile phones have become an extension of ourselves like the clothes we wear and the haircut we choose. Our pictures, emails, messages contacts and all personal information is stored not in our mind but in our phones. Apart from private information, your phones may contain confidential business information also. None of us would like others accessing such info from our phones and hence they become the secret vaults.
Let’s take a look at the top security and privacy features that Android 6.0 Marshmallow offers.
At A Glance
- Advanced controls to turn permissions on or off (for installed apps)
- It will ask for permission right only when needed
- Provision to refuse any permission asked while still using the app
- Verified boot feature which warns you when your device boots up if the firmware and OS have been modified from the original factory version.
- Fingerprint sensors- an innovative feature to unlock your device, make purchases and authenticate transactions in apps and stores.
Let us take a look at each of them.
Android Marshmallow provides user-facing controls for app permissions. However, this feature has been present in the iOS for some years now although the Android didn’t have it. Certain basic permissions like internet access still is granted by default, but typically you will be asked to grant individual permissions first time an app attempts to access something like your microphone or camera.
App permissions in Marshmallow thus leave you in control of denying or allowing permissions as you like. Nonetheless, although you can still access apps after disabling permissions, not all apps work properly if certain permissions are denied. But that is something that has become the concern of app developers. They are now expected to stabilize their apps to work without all permissions granted so that people can disable any permission that they find unnecessary or unacceptable.
Permissions for any app can be viewed within the settings menu which shows the permissions the app does or doesn’t have. You can also view it by permission type that lets you see how many apps have access to the same thing such as contacts.
Android Marshmallow took disk encryption to a whole new level with full-disk encryption by default. These encrypted devices will be made to undergo Marshmallow’s verified boot process to ensure the authenticity of software during each boot sequence. The user is immediately alerted in case any software corruption is suspected.
However, this new age encryption is only supported in new devices and not devices that updated to Marshmallow from a previous version. Since disk encryption can slow system performance unless a hardware accelerator is used, devices lacking adequate processing power are exempted from this feature.
The fingerprint API offers system-level fingerprint support in Marshmallow devices. Android Pay and other payment systems depend on fingerprint scanners for authentication and are forced to rely on manufacturer add-ons for that. Now, this can be handled by Android itself.
Automatic App backup
Marshmallow allows automatic backup not only for your data but for your apps too. Although the backup and reset feature was present in Lollipop too, it wasn’t complete like the one Marshmallow offers. With this security feature you can restore apps from backup and once you sign in you will be right where you left off.
Network security reset
Network security reset in the Backup and reset settings allows you to quickly erase all passwords, settings and connections connected with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular data.
Monthly security patches
Monthly security updates keep Android safe from any security weaknesses. It was since the Stagefright scare that Google and many other manufacturers took monthly security updates so seriously. In Marshmallow, the Android security patch level can be viewed in the ‘About’ section of the phone.
If you have any other feature in mind that you think is important, why not share it with us? Leave a comment below.
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