Android’s Changes to Screen Lock

In Android 7.0 Google has removed the ability for apps to have full control over the screen lock. This seems to be in response to the recent malware type called ransomware. Ransomware is software that gains control of a mobile device, usually through locking the device, and makes you pay to get back control of your phone. This effects two of Where’s My Droid’s features, the Remote Lock and Uninstall Defense. Remote Lock The Remote Lock feature can still lock your phone, but only if there isn’t already a screen lock engaged. This is good for those who don’t usually have a screen lock in place. The downside is the app can’t remove the screen lock for you once you have found your device. Therefore, using WMD to unlock by text or Commander will not work. If you get the device back you can enter the PIN you set and the app will help you remove the screen lock as normal. Uninstall Defense The 7.0 update has a greater effect on the Uninstall Defense feature. This is because Google removed a function that allows apps to be notified when they are being removed as a device admin. Where’s My Droid usually listens for this notification and then locks your device to prevent someone from removing the app. Where’s My Droid users can still deter thiefs from un-installing the app by hiding the app icon so they don’t know it’s on the device.   Here is the excerpt from Googles blog: We’ve reduced the power of device admin applications so they can no longer change your lockscreen if you have a...
Google to get rid of passwords on Android, replacing them with ‘trust score’

Google to get rid of passwords on Android, replacing them with ‘trust score’

Google wants you to stop using passwords. Why? Simply using a password isn’t considered very secure anymore. Made obvious by the fact that companies are getting hacked left and right with mass amounts of passwords exposed. Not to mention many people just aren’t using secure passwords in the first place. Another option is two-factor authentication, and it’s a good step-up. It requires something you know (your password) and something you have, like your phone or email. When you login with your password, you are sent a code via text or email. You then enter that code to complete the login. Although this is very secure, it’s also quite a hassle and takes more of your valuable time. Enter Google’s Trust Api. The Trust API is always running the background. It monitors how you use your device. Such as typing behavior, vocal inflections, facial recognition, and location. It then assigns a score base on how sure its you using the device.  Apps can then use this score to log you directly, without the need for a password. Depending on the app it may require a better score to login. For example a banking app would require a very high score, where as a game would be fine with a lower score. If the app doesn’t like the current trust score rating it may ask for your password just to be sure. “Why couldn’t it just know who I was, so I don’t need a password? It should just be able to work.” – Daniel Kaufman head of Google’s ATAP team. This is a great solution because it can be more...
Find Your Lost Android Phone Without a Tracking App

Find Your Lost Android Phone Without a Tracking App

If you lost your Android smart phone and didn’t have a tracking app installed on it you might still be able to find it. After working on Where’s My Droid for 6 years I have learned many tricks that can be used to track a device even if you didn’t have any tracking app at all. Your best bet: Android Device Manager Google’s Android Device Manager comes pre-installed on all Android 2.2 and newer devices. So unless your device is really old you’ll be ready to go. It’s not as powerful as Where’s My Droid is but it can get the location by GPS and ring. It does have a lock and wipe ability, but that requires extra setup on the device. If you didn’t do that then those features won’t be available to you. Check it out at https://www.google.com/android/devicemanager   Remote install ‘Plan B’ on an older phone Now I know I said you needed to have some kind of app already installed but, if you have an older phone, running Android 2.0 – 2.3.4, you can still remotely install an app for tracking. You see, in Android 3.0 Google changed how remote installs work. When you push an app to your phone from your computer the app can’t run until it’s opened on the device at least once. This is a security measure to prevent malware from being pushed to a device. Old devices don’t have this so they are free to run as soon as the remote install completes. To install Plan B go to the Google Play store on your computer and search for Plan...
How to track a stolen Android phone

How to track a stolen Android phone

If your phone gets stolen you may feel sad, angry, and even violated knowing a thief now has your whole life in the palm of their hand. You need to get that phone back and fast before they fence it on eBay. Warning: You should never go looking for your phone if it was stolen without help. Once you have been able to confirm a location of the device contact the police and ask them to escort you. Now, let’s track down that phone and get your life back. First, did you have a tracking app like Where’s My Droid installed? If not that’s OK, there is still hope. We are going to talk about using Where’s My Droid here and if you don’t have that installed you can read this post for some other options. Using Where’s My Droid Where’s My Droid has many security features to prevent a thief from getting your personal information and aid in you getting your phone back. Below we will talk about the steps you should take. Lock it down The first thing you should do is lock your device. By locking the device it will engage a screen lock that will prevent the thief from viewing your personal information as well as making sure they can’t remove Where’s My Droid or alter its settings. Lock your device with a text by sending your lock attention word followed by a 4-6 digit PIN. For example, with the default attention word “wmd lock 1234”. From Commander, click the Lock tab and enter a 4-6 digit PIN and click the “Lock” button.   Track...
How to find a lost Android phone

How to find a lost Android phone

If you have lost your phone you may be wondering, now what? Don’t panic you have several options. You do need to act fast, the longer you wait the less chance you’ll have of recovering your phone. If you had your phone stolen read this post. The process is similar but we have a few extra tips to help you out. First, did you have a tracking app like Where’s My Droid installed? If not it will be harder to track, but it can be done. For more information on tracking your phone without an app installed view this post. Using Where’s My Droid to find your phone There are two different methods to use Where’s My Droid, either by texting or from the online interface called Commander. Find with texting Requirements: Device must be turned on The device must still have service in order to get the texts Have opened the app at least one time to complete install Using the texting option is the most reliable, but can be a little tricky to use. It’s more reliable because it doesn’t require the device to have a data connection and it can be used even if you didn’t setup the app ahead of time (You still must have opened the app at least once on the device though). To activate a feature simply send a text message from any phone to your “lost” phone that has the app installed on it. In this text message you will put your attention word for the feature you want to activate. Below is a list of features and their default attention...