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Android Security Internals by Nikolay Elenkov

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Chapter 13. System Updates and Root Access

In the preceding chapters, we introduced Android’s security model and discussed how integrating SELinux into Android has reinforced it. In this chapter, we take a bit of a right turn and introduce methods that can be used to circumvent Android’s security model.

In order to perform a full OS update or to restore the device to its factory state, it’s necessary to escape the security sandbox and gain full access to a device, because even the most privileged Android components are not given complete access to all system partitions and storage devices. Additionally, while having full administrative (root) access at runtime is clearly against Android’s security design, executing with root privileges can be useful ...

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