In this blog, we ’ ll blog provide a basic overview of the encoding technologies used on Android, the necessitate for Android encoding, and the best practices to follow when encrypting Android devices .
What is android encoding ?
definition Android encoding, or encoding in general, is the process of encoding data into an indecipherable format to make it inexplicable to users without the proper credentials.
once an Android device is encrypted, the system automatically encodes all exploiter data on the device lock. Depending on the type of encoding, the device decrypts this data only after it successfully boots up, or after the exploiter unlocks it with the correct password/touch ID/face ID/screen interlock .
Why must you encrypt your telephone ?
Be it personal or corporate data, when using your Android device to shop and access sensible data, it is crucial to ensure that the device is encrypted. In today ’ randomness corporate environment, datum breaches are on the rise. According to a 2020 data transgress report card by RiskBased security, about 36 billion corporate records were breached in the first half of 2020 .
Android encryption in the office
besides, with employees gaining access to corporate files on their mobile devices, it becomes even more crucial to encrypt these devices. According to a 2021 fiscal data risk report from Varonis, closely two-thirds of organizations have more than 1,000 medium files open to every employee. These figures point out the importance of setting up encoding policies in the enterprise.
What is device encryption and why do you need it?
Learn the need for device encoding policies in the enterprise and how Hexnode helps enforce encoding on oeuvre devices .
Is it safe to encrypt my Android device ?
It is generally safe to encrypt your Android devices. For the older device models, encrypting your android can result in a neglect in system performance. however, this performance drop becomes unobtrusive in the newer Android models. besides, it is worth mentioning that the encoding process is irreversible. once performed, it can only be removed by a complete factory reset of the device .
What are the types of encoding used on Androids ?
Android encoding broadly falls under two categories. Full-disk encoding ( FDE ) and file-based encoding ( FBE ) .
Full disk encryption
Full-disk encoding ( FDE ) requires encoding all the data on your device, including essential apps and services, and transforming it into illegible code. This datum can then be decrypted only after the drug user successfully unlocks the Android device after booting up. The highlight when it comes to this technique is that all the data is encrypted using a single identify .
Encryption enabled mobiles at work
In the case of full-disk encoding, the kernel functionalities of your Android device – including the alarms, approachability services, and the ability to view caller IDs when receiving calls – are restricted until the device is unlock with the correct credentials. When compared to file-based encoding, this technique provides greater security, at the cost of exploiter convenience .
Android OS requirements for FDE
android devices running OS versions above 3 supports full-disk encoding. however, FDE documentation has been discontinued for Android OS 10+ and is now completely replaced by FBE .
File based encryption
File-based encoding ( FBE ) on the other bridge player, ensures that the all-important and non-essential apps and data are separated and encrypted with unlike keys. When it comes to FBE, the Android system provides two types of locations for storing encrypted data .
Device encrypted storage
The datum in this location get decrypted entirely after the device completes boot up and reaches the lock screen. lone the essential apps, services and data – such as SMS apps, handiness apps and Alarm apps – will be decrypted at this point .
Credential based encrypted memory
The data in this localization, normally comprised of user data and apps, is decrypted only after the user has successfully unlocked the device from the lock screen, with the want credentials. however, it is worth noting that once the drug user has unlocked the device, the apps and data stored in this location do not get encrypted for the subsequent device locks. This datum is re-encrypted merely after a complete resume of the device .
Device encrypted memory ensures that entree to essential apps and services are made available a soon as the device is successfully booted up .
Credential based code storage ensures that until the device is unlock with the proper credentials, the drug user apps and data on the device stay encrypted .
overall, file-based encoding is normally preferred over FDE for commercial Androids due to the better convenience it offers for the users .
Android OS requirements for FBE
- Android devices running OS versions above 7 support file-based encryption.
- For Android devices 7 to 9, IT can set up either FDE or FBE, depending on enterprise requirements.
- For Android 10+ devices, only the FBE encryption technique is supported.
- However, for Android 9 devices that are updated to Android 10, it is not necessary to convert the encryption mode to FBE.
Is my android device encrypted out-of-the-box ?
encoding for Android devices was introduced with Android OS version 3. however, for older models, Android encoding would have to be enabled manually. This was normally done because the encoding march for the older models would well reduce device performance .
With the presentation of newer models, Android devices began to be encrypted out-of-the-box. today, any Android device with an OS version above 6, that has a legal license of GMS ( Google Mobile Services ), will always be encrypted out-of-the-box. These devices besides support registration in the Android Enterprise program .
Out-of-the-box encryption for Androids
It is worth noting that any device enrolled in the Android Enterprise broadcast must have encoding enabled compulsorily. If the device is not encrypted, the encoding process will automatically be enforced when enrolling in Android Enterprise .
besides, Android Enterprise devices with OS versions above 7, set in Profile Owner mood have the option to set up distinguish encoding keys for the personal and study container. This can be done by setting up a ferment profile password for the device .
Read more: Dual_EC_DRBG – Wikipedia
- Android 5 devices updated to Android 6 do not require compulsory encryption.
- Android devices that use the AOSP (Android Open Source Project) framework may or may not be encrypted out-of-the-box, depending on the developer preference.
How do I manually enable Android encoding ?
Morden Android devices are always encrypted out-of-the-box. however, in the case of older Android models, the device may or may not be encrypted. You can check the encoding status for Android devices by navigating to Settings > Security > Encryption. This pill shows whether the device is encrypted or not. In event the Android device is not encrypted, you can enable encoding from the same yellow journalism .
Before enabling encoding, there are a few things that the exploiter must note to maintain a smooth encoding summons .
Android encryption pre-requisites
- The device must have a charge of over 80%.
- The device must be plugged in before the encryption process begins.
- Rooted devices must temporarily be un-rooted to enable encryption. However, the device can be rooted after the encryption process is completed.
- The encryption process will take about 1-2 hrs, during which no work can be performed on the device.
crucial ! If the device unintentionally shuts down before the encoding summons is completed, the device is left in a partially encrypted department of state. In such cases, encoding must be performed again after factory resetting the device .
How do I choose between FDE and FBE on my Android ?
Android devices with OS versions 7 to 9, comes equipped with the feature that allows users to choose between full-disk encoding and file-based encoding techniques to implement on their device .
To choose between full-disk encoding and file-based encoding methods, you will first need to enable ‘ Developer options ’ on your Android mobile .
How do I enable Developer options on Android?
To enable Developer options ,
- Navigate to Settings>About phone, and tap on ‘Build number’ 7 times. You may also be asked to enter your password. On a successful attempt, a message will appear on your screen titled, ‘You are now a Developer’.
- You can now navigate to Settings>Additional settings>Developer options. (The location of the Developer options tab may vary depending on the device.)
once you are at Developer options, select the tab, ‘ Convert to file encoding ’, and tap on ‘ Wipe and convert ’. The conversion process will take about 1-2 hours to complete .
significant ! Converting from FDE to FBE or vice versa will require a dispatch factory reset of the device. Make indisputable to back up your data before conversion. You must besides ensure that the device does not unintentionally turn off during the conversion action .
Is it necessary to set a password to encrypt your Android device ?
Unlike its background encoding counterparts like BitLocker for Windows and FileVault for macOS ,
When it comes to encrypting Android devices, it is not compulsory to set up a device password .
however, the miss of a password will reduce the effectiveness of encoding on your Android device, and it is generally not advisable to set up encoding without a password .
For far clarity, let ’ s observe the consequence of setting up a password on an encrypted Android device. We ’ ll consider the case for both full-disk encoding and file-level encoding solutions .
When enabling encoding using FDE, if a password is not set, the Android device is encrypted by a randomly generated key, hashed by a nonpayment password ( “ default_password ” ). This key is besides signed by a trust execution environment ( TEE ) .
What is a Trusted execution environment?
A entrust execution environment ( TEE ) is a batten separate of the device that executes code with a high level of trust. due to this component, the data loaded in TEE can be executed, while ignoring the threats from the rest of the device. Hence, an app, data or software signed by a TEE may have a higher level of believe concerning validity and entree control, when compared to early general-purpose software .
Encrypting a mobile device
But, if a password/pattern/PIN is by and by set up by the user, the passkey key gets re-encrypted. however, no change in encoding occurs on any of the apps and drug user data .
In the case of FBE, files are encrypted with unlike keys that are unlock individually. This includes the files in – device encrypted memory and credential-based code storage .
In event a password is not set by the user, the data in credential-based code storage is encrypted by a like randomly generated key, signed by a TEE. When a password/PIN/pattern is set, this cardinal is re-encrypted, ensuring that the encoding for apps and datum remains unchanged .
What are the best practices for Android encoding
When enforcing encoding for Android devices, following certain practices will ensure that your Androids are secured and managed in the best possible room .
Use strong passwords
Enforcing a solid password on your Android device is a crucial factor when setting up Android encoding. Protecting your device with a password/PIN/pattern/touch ID/face ID far strengthens the security on your Android. Hexnode ’ s UEM solution enables you to enforce strong password policies on your managed Android devices, thereby protecting your data from likely breaches .
Monitor and manage encrypted devices
once encoding has been completed, it is necessary for enterprises to manage these code devices and monitor their condition sporadically. With Hexnode ’ s UEM solution, enterprises can well manage and view all their encrypted devices from a distant centralized console. IT can besides force encoding via Hexnode when enrolling devices in Android Enterprise, and mark unencrypted devices as incompliant.
Read more: Dual_EC_DRBG – Wikipedia
Regularly back up data
Backing up your data at regular intervals ensures that the datum remains safe even in the encase of a bribe repel or a device malfunction .
Enforce encryption on Androids with Hexnode UEM
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