Rooting Android Devices: Know the risks!

by Guest Author on September 5, 2012

in Android, Guest Posts, Security

So you’ve got that android phone that you always dreamed of! Unpacked it, charged it and loved it. Started downloading apps or games and everything seems rosy in this picture perfect world. But can you download every app?

How about trying to install some custom themes? What if you aren’t that satisfied with the in-built system applications and processes and want to change them? As it turns out, you can’t do any of the above.

Like every software manufacturer, android device and OS makers develop their own custom software and limit the functionality of certain features either for future releases or to protect the phone from internal damage caused by unnecessary meddling by an inexperienced user.

But geeks and techno enthusiasts always find a way around these obstacles! ‘Rooting’ is the process of removing these limitations and allowing you full access to all features and settings of your device.

You can customize its appearance and working, remove buggy and resource consuming built-in applications, and overclock the processor for faster speeds by getting ‘root access’, hence the name. It grants you super user privileges and allows changes to be made in every aspect of your device!

But (there’s always a but!) if every cloud has a silver lining then the vice versa is also true. Rooting isn’t exactly that straightforward a process and there are many risk and contingencies involved.

Older rooting methods required a little knowledge of programming, complex instructions and were generally time consuming. Newer ‘one-click’ methods and apps have appeared over time but have increased the risks associated with rooting.

So before you go ahead with the process, let’s educate you about some of the risks involved with rooting android devices:

  • Warranty – You knew this one right! Any tinkering or tampering you do with the OS will automatically void the warranty of your device. So if something goes wrong either during the process or someday later, don’t expect help from the customer care or service center.
  • You got bricked! – The changes you initiate may make the OS unstable and can damage the software to such an extent that your device stops working. It’s not a product anymore; it’s a brick, an expensive paperweight. This is known as ‘bricking’ and one of the biggest concerns that any user trying to root their android device should keep in mind.
  • Virus attack – Viruses aren’t restricted to computers only and your android device can get infected too. Since rooting involves overriding the security features provided by the manufacturer, you run the risk of contaminating your device with worms or Trojans if an efficient antivirus isn’t installed. A common process is ‘flashing’ your ROM with custom programs that may result in introducing changes to the core structure of the software. Malwares and viruses can breach these changes and infect your device.
  • Reduced performance – Even though the intent behind rooting is to increase performance and decrease system response time, it is possible to make your phone slower than before. One should remember that we are making changes to the core structure specified by the manufacturers which were possibly designed with the intent of limiting features that your phone may not handle properly. Rooting can give you complete control over the device, but it may not be beneficial in cases like this.

After having seen the various risks associated with rooting android devices, the decision is yours to make. If you believe the features and functionalities provided by rooting are something you can’t live without, and then proceed after careful research and proper guidance. If not, then it’s best to leave your phone the way it is and enjoy the features you currently have.

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Guest article written by: Alan Tay is the author who runs IT Security Column, a IT Security blog where he mostly writes about computer security and virus protection.

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Guest article written by: Alan Tay is the author who runs IT Security Column, a IT Security blog where he mostly writes about computer security and virus protection.

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Comments & Leave a Comment

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Anton Koekemoer September 5, 2012 at 11:02

Yes – I do agree. The future of Android might not be all that great as a lot of their fanatics tend to make them out to be. Honestly, with so many trends in the market and industry (from the major players like Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Nokia and the list goes on) there is still a lot of competition and new trends and technology in the market to explore.

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Faith September 5, 2012 at 12:05

Whenever I want to change the look of my Android phone (it’s in ICS 4.0.4), I just download Go Launcher EX. Then, I’m happy! I don’t root my S3 because a.) I’m not a programmer b.) I don’t want to risk my phone and hard-earned money just to buy this phone.

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Alan Tay September 6, 2012 at 03:26

Yeps, Anton. Android might not be the future and we should be seeing Microsoft coming although the market is still now pretty much dominated by Apple & Android.
Alan Tay recently posted… How Often Should You Scan Your Computer for Malware?

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amy September 7, 2012 at 06:46

I like the Android device. But there are many risks in handling that. Your post explains about that and make me to understand many thing about Android.
I feel happy to came across your blog..

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Agi September 8, 2012 at 11:04

Interesting facts, now I feel a little bit assured why my decision to switch for iOS has been a great choice because of security. Thanks for sharing this informational text, I think it will help people to see clear.
Agi recently posted… Fogpótlás mesterfokon: fogbeültetés

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Siddartha Thota September 13, 2012 at 05:33

Literally there are few benefits of rooting as well like custom themes, more control, extending rom, and many more.

You can also check out my article on benefits of rooting for more information – http://www.gadgetcage.com/benefits-of-rooting-android-phones/24487/
Siddartha Thota recently posted… How to Reset Android Phone [Ultimate Guide]

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Lee Carter September 14, 2012 at 21:09

My Kindle fire is pretty useless since I played with rooting it. Going to have to try fix it, you really need to know what you are doing.
Lee Carter recently posted… Our Top Ten Online Travel Resources

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Rob McCance September 21, 2012 at 03:33

I’ve used an iPhone 4 for about two years now.

Recently I bought a Galaxy Nexus from Google directly and used that for exactly two days. I then sold it to my brother in Costa Rica who can’t get anything.

It was cool and all but I loaded up jsut two of my must have APPs:

Ameritrade Think or Swim Trading App
Sirius/XM Satellite Radio

And they both were buggy and the Trading App got to where it would not even load.

You know what, I’m no Apple “fanboy” but I don’t need all that nonsense!

I lived through the Windows 3.x days and that’s enough already..
Rob McCance recently posted… The River Club Membership Fees

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