Android Tablet Security Analysis for the 2014 Holidays

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Mach Speed Jlab Pro

Staples was advertising the Mach Speed JLab Pro-7 7” Android tablet as an online Black Friday sneak peek for $39.99, so Bluebox Labs bought one. This Android 4.4.2 device comes with developer mode and USB debugging enabled by default. But even more oddly, it seems there were customizations made to the installed Android software to remove some security features that would otherwise be there normally.  Specifically, they noticed that the ADB service on the device did not require them to authorize the ADB connection on the device…a capability that was introduced in Android 4.2.2 and present ever since. Normally, this security feature prevents someone with physical access to the device from stealing data via the USB connection, but since this security feature has apparently been removed, the device is at risk.

Trustworthiness: Semi-Trustable

Vulnerabilities: Fake ID, Futex


Without a doubt, tablets will be a hot item this holiday season. Retailers from Best Buy, Wal-mart, Target, Kohl's and Staples are hard at work offering can't-miss deals this holiday for a host of "bargain" Android tablets. But how much of a deal are you really getting?

Bluebox Labs recently purchased over a dozen tablets featured in this year's Black Friday extravaganzas (most under $100) and reviewed each of them for security. What they found was shocking and quite terrifying. Many of the devices shipped with vulnerabilities and security misconfigurations – a few even had security backdoors.

We know that the product quality and features on inexpensive tablets are less than more expensive tablets. But Android is Android, and the software running on these tablets should offer the same secure Android experience as other Android devices. Alas, the device vendor makes many decisions when constructing an Android tablet, and some of those decisions can drastically affect the overall security and long-term trustability of the device.

The amount of security variation in Android devices is so large that Bluebox Labs recently released the free Trustable by Bluebox Android application to discover and measure all of the security aspects of a device. The Trustable by Bluebox app produces an overall Trust Score, which provides an indication on how trustable the device is compared to other available Android devices. You can read all about how they compute a Trust Score here and give the Trustable by Bluebox app a try by downloading it from Google Play.


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