Earlier this year, we took a quick look at some of Walmart’s super-affordable Android tablets under the Onn brand. They’re decent at best, but now they’re getting an upgrade, thanks to TWRP support. But that is also revealing some laughably bad security.

XDA highlights that some developers have been able to create a TWRP build for these Walmart Android tablets. This means that over time, developers could potentially build new ROMs for the tablet to remove Walmart’s bloatware, or perhaps even create a lighter build to improve the performance.

That’s great to see, but there’s a dark side to this. The developers who created this TWRP build found during the process that the tablets are incredibly insecure out of the box. Generally speaking, installing a boot image such as TWRP requires an unlocked bootloader, but on the Walmart tablets, that isn’t required.

Apparently, this isn’t uncommon among cheap Android tablets. The companies making these devices set up the bootloader so apps recognize it, but it isn’t fully implemented, which allows those with the proper tools an easy backdoor. However, the developer behind this build says that users interested in installing TWRP on a Walmart Android tablet says that users should still unlock their bootloader — better safe than sorry.

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Ben Schoon

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