Chapter 4: Rooting and Installing a Custom Recovery

In this chapter:

• Exploits and how to use them

• Hacking utilities

• Recovery mode

• Using the ClockworkMod recovery application

• Backup and disaster recovery

An exploit takes advantage of a known vulnerability to allow the Android user the ability to increase his or her level of privilege and access root. Most exploits are found during the bootstrap process covered in Chapter 1. They are discovered by experienced Android or Linux developers and programmers who dream in binary and live on energy drinks alone. When they find a crack in the lockdown that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and carriers place on devices, they release the knowledge of the vulnerability and, possibly, an exploit that enables less experienced or less skilled hackers and developers to utilize the vulnerability.

How to Use Exploits

Many of these benevolent hackers release their aids on the XDA forums or other Android community sites. This enables the next level of Android hacker to play with the process for freeing devices from OEM and carrier tyranny. An exploit might be packaged and released by a developer.

One of my arguments for low-touch or one-click rooting methods is that they are just a continuation of this thought process. Most of the people who disdain the one-click root method would be totally lost if asked to exploit the ASHMEM vulnerability that enables many of the root processes that are available today. Luckily for the scoffers, ...

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