Android is a pretty secure operating system overall, but there are some features that can be used for malicious purposes. Many users probably don’t realize that, for a long time, the OS has allowed apps to monitor your network activity completely unrestricted. In Android P, though, that’s being restricted.

First spotted by XDA-Developers, a new change is coming to Android which appeared recently in AOSP. This change would prevent apps from monitoring your network activity without your knowledge. In its current form, developers can set up apps to know where your device is sending data to at any given time, even though those apps can’t see the content you’re sending off or receiving.

Starting with Android P, developers won’t be able to access proc/net, which is what makes it possible to monitor activity. Apps built for Android P on API level 28 or higher won’t be able to access the needed TCP and UDP files to get this functionality, unless they are designated as a VPN.

Unfortunately, Android P won’t magically fix this problem across the board for a while. For compatibility reasons, apps using lower API levels won’t be affected until 2019, when level 28 becomes the minimum. So, for the foreseeable future, nothing is changing. In the long run though, this is a great move for the privacy-conscious, and Android’s security overall.

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Ben Schoon

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