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Google blocks access to its apps on uncertified Android devices

Google has started blocking access to its apps on uncertified Android devices whose firmware was built after March 16

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Google has started blocking access to its apps on uncertified Android devices whose firmware was built after March 16 which could cause trouble to users who like to load custom ROMs on their smartphones.

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Google blocks android apps. Pixabay

“Android is an open source operating system and a million other varieties have blossomed. If your Android device is certified by Google, you’re allowed to distribute Google’s official Android apps on it. If you’re not certified, you aren’t supposed to ship those apps,” The Verge reported late on Monday.

“Google is now checking the build date of your Android system image when you attempt to run Google apps. If you have an uncertified device and you’re running a version of the Android OS that was compiled after March 16, 2018, Google apps won’t work,” the report added.

Also Read: Paytm more preferred by Indian professionals than Google: LinkedIn

Users won’t be prevented entirely from loading ROMs but they will have to register their device IDs on a whitelist every time they undergo a factory reset. A custom Android ROM refers to a smartphone’s firmware which is based on Google’s Android platform.

These apps are being thought to be carrying viruses. Wikimedia Commons

“You can now register your device with your Android ID to allow Google apps to run on a device. There’s a 100 device limit per user, which might cause trouble for highly prolific ROM testers,” The Verge report added. IANS

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Nigerian Firm Apologizes for Google’s Glitch

Main One, which describes itself as a leading provider of telecom and network services for businesses in West Africa, said that it had investigated the matter.

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Google, Main One
A Google logo is seen at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

Nigeria’s Main One Cable took responsibility Tuesday for a glitch that temporarily caused some Google global traffic to be misrouted through China, saying it accidentally caused the problem during a network
upgrade.

The issue surfaced Monday afternoon as internet monitoring firms ThousandEyes and BGPmon said some traffic to Alphabet’s Google had been routed through China and Russia, raising concerns that the communications had been intentionally hijacked.

Main One said in an email that it had caused a 74-minute glitch by misconfiguring a border gateway protocol filter used to route traffic across the internet. That resulted in some Google traffic being sent through Main One partner China Telecom, the West African firm said.

Google has said little about the matter. It acknowledged the problem Monday in a post on its website that said it was investigating the glitch and that it believed the problem originated outside the company. The company did not say how many users were affected or identify specific customers.

Google, Main One
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during a news conference in New Delhi. VOA

Google representatives could not be reached Tuesday to comment on Main One’s statement.

Hacking concerns

Even though Main One said it was to blame, some security experts said the incident highlighted concerns about the potential for hackers to conduct espionage or disrupt communications by exploiting known vulnerabilities in the way traffic is routed over the internet.

The U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission, a Washington group that advises the U.S. Congress on security issues, plans to investigate the issue, said Commissioner Michael Wessel.

“We will work to gain more facts about what has happened recently and look at what legal tools or legislation or law enforcement activities can help address this problem,” Wessel said.

Google, Main One, YouTube, Google, google services
A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company’s offices in Toronto. VOA

Glitches in border gateway protocol filters have caused multiple outages to date, including cases in which traffic from U.S. internet and financial services firms was routed through Russia, China and Belarus.

Yuval Shavitt, a network security researcher at Tel Aviv University, said it was possible that Monday’s issue was not an accident.

Also Read: Google Investigating The Root Cause Of its Malfunction

“You can always claim that this is some kind of configuration error,” said Shavitt, who last month co-authored a paper alleging that the Chinese government had conducted a series of internet hijacks.

Main One, which describes itself as a leading provider of telecom and network services for businesses in West Africa, said that it had investigated the matter and implemented new processes to prevent it from happening again. (VOA)