Android app requires rooted phone to offer full protection

Rating: Actually it’s all built into Avast!’s Mobile Security app

Over a year ago, GoMo News bothered to research how an ordinary person could ‘root’ an Android handset. (See ‘How to migrate an Android handset to Froyo’). The purpose of ‘rooting’ the handset is to enable you to change bits of the handset’s OS. Normally, it’s used for updating the OS to a new version – say going from Gingerbread (2.3) to Ice Cream Sandwich (v 4.0). We’ve accidentally discovered that ‘rooting’ also serves a useful purpose for data security applications. This revelation was made when installing Avast! Software’s Mobile Security app on our test Motorola Razr. You can find the Avast! app on the Android Market here. Back in 2010, it took us 12-14 hours to root and upgrade
an Android phone. Today it is far simpler.  Performing rooting was worth it thanks to the extra facilities you get when you install Avast! Mobile Security.

Now you may wonder how security software has ended up being buried inside what most people would think of as just an antivirus app.

Well, the answer is easy. Avast! bought a company called IT Agents back in September [2011] and is now busy incorporating that company’s former product – Theft Aware into its own offering.

[Incidentally, there was formerly a version of Theft Aware for Symbian. It's now unsupported, but you can still get it for free from www.theftware.com.]

OK. When you download the Mobile Security app (which incidentally is still in Beta), you get a whole bunch of former Theft Aware stuff buried in the Avast! anti-theft section.

When you install the Avast! package, the setup procedure will say that anti-theft performs better if the handset is rooted.  So you want to tick the box.

Except that you need to root the handset first. We found the total solution for a Motorola Razr here.

Make sure you go into Settings – Applications – Development and then remember to turn USB debugging on.

To start messing with a rooted Android phone you will need an Android Debug Bridge (ADB) driver installed on your desktop computer.

Our loan Motorola Razr installed one itself but  we suspect that’s because the standard Motorola media Link package comes with one anyway.

Once you’ve rooted the phone, you are on your way! When it comes to the actual method of installing Avast! on a rooted mobile phone, the software will tell you that the commonest way of rooting is the  ‘Direct write method’.

If that doesn’t work try the ‘Recovery image method’. That second option will then offer two alternatives: -  Edify or Amend. Pick Edify and if it doesn’t work try Amend.

GoMo News hasn’t  had time to play with all the facilities in Avast! anti-theft yet. So, we’d suggest you read Artem ‘s review of the original Theft Aware product on Android Police, for the moment.

Once you’ve got  the anti-theft side to the Avast! app running, you’ll realise how powerful a tool this is.

GoMo News reckons it has discovered no more than 10 per cent of the app’s capabilities so far.

About Tony Dennis

Tony is currently Editor of GoMobile News. He's a veteran telecoms journalist who has previously worked for major printed and online titles. Follow him on Twitter @GoMoTweet.
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2 Responses to Android app requires rooted phone to offer full protection

  1. suraj says:

    How to root a phone without using pc?

  2. Tony Dennis says:

    I would guess that it is impossible to do so. How about asking shop which does phone unlocking?

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