Android OS and tracking



  • Hey folks, anyone here very familiar with Android OS and possible tracking apps (hidden or otherwise)? I am not.

    A friend and coworker of mine received a gift in the mail, a handheld gaming device (like a Nintendo ds type) but it has android OS on it and an emulator with a bunch of games. She is active on youtube and twitter with her own blogs and stuff and this was sent to her as a thank you from random fan/follower.

    The device has cell and wifi capabilities and I checked and as far as I could tell, those are all turned off. She is paranoid of possible hidden apps that might track the device (she doesn't want to be stalked). We don't want to wipe it. Just kill any possible tracking apps that may be hidden on it.

    Can anyone think of how to scan this or find if there is anything hidden on it that could be used for tracking or anything of that nature?

    Note: this device is a Droidbox Gamepad GPD (never heard of this myself and I'm a gamer, just not familiar with handhelds)



  • I'd start out by running malwarebytes or something similiar on the device, but that is not 100% guaranteed to find everything. In all honesty wiping it is the only way to be sure.



  • Unless she is willing to root it and put on her own firmware/ROM, I wouldn't use it if she's worried about that at all.

    The built in ROM could easily restore any tracking, etc, software installed when you wipe the phone. Only way to be sure would be to not use it. Second best way, replace the ROM. I'm not sure you can actually update the BIOS to ensure nothing is hiding in there - remember LoJack - it can be in the BIOS and reinstall itself on a new OS install - just like the Lenovo BIOS thing of last year.



  • @Dashrender said in Android OS and tracking:

    Unless she is willing to root it and put on her own firmware/ROM, I wouldn't use it if she's worried about that at all.

    The built in ROM could easily restore any tracking, etc, software installed when you wipe the phone. Only way to be sure would be to not use it. Second best way, replace the ROM. I'm not sure you can actually update the BIOS to ensure nothing is hiding in there - remember LoJack - it can be in the BIOS and reinstall itself on a new OS install - just like the Lenovo BIOS thing of last year.

    While it is possible that tracking is built into the stock ROM, I find that highly unlikely. Also, since this is a gaming device, there is no real need to use your main Google Account on this device if you are wary of it. If you just play the games on it and disable the GPS, I don't see much of an issue.

    I do agree that rooting and putting a custom ROM on there is a good idea. However, I think the risk of tracking with the stock ROM is virtually non-existent.


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