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Android Hacker's Handbook by Georg Wicherski, Stephen A. Ridley, Pau Oliva Fora, Collin Mulliner, Zach Lanier, Joshua J. Drake

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Chapter 3Rooting Your Device

The process of gaining super user privileges on an Android device is commonly called rooting. The system super user account is ubiquitously called root, hence the term rooting. This special account has rights and permissions over all files and programs on a UNIX-based system. It has full control over the operating system.

There are many reasons why someone would like to achieve administrative privileges on an Android device. For the purposes of this book, our primary reason is to audit the security of an Android device without being confined by UNIX permissions. However, some people want to access or alter system files to change a hard-coded configuration or behavior, or to modify the look and feel with custom themes or boot animations. Rooting also enables users to uninstall pre-installed applications, do full system backups and restores, or load custom kernel images and modules. Also, a whole class of apps exists that require root permissions to run. These are typically called root apps and include programs such as iptables-based firewalls, ad-blockers, overclocking, or tethering applications.

Regardless of your reason to root, you should be concerned that the process of rooting compromises the security of your device. One reason is that all user data is exposed to applications that have been granted root permissions. Further, it could leave an open door for someone to extract all user data from the device if you lose it or it is stolen, especially ...

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