What Is Root ?

What Is Root ?

Rooting is the process of allowing users of smartphones, tablets and other devices running the Android mobile operating system to attain privileged control (known as root access) over various Android subsystems. As Android uses the Linux kernel, rooting an Android device gives similar access to administrative (superuser) permissions as on Linux or any other Unix-like operating system such as FreeBSD or macOS.

Rooting is often performed with the goal of overcoming limitations that carriers and hardware manufacturers put on some devices. Thus, rooting gives the ability (or permission) to alter or replace system applications and settings, run specialized applications ("apps") that require administrator-level permissions, or perform other operations that are otherwise inaccessible to a normal Android user. On Android, rooting can also facilitate the complete removal and replacement of the device's operating system, usually with a more recent release of its current operating system.

Root access is sometimes compared to jailbreaking devices running the Apple iOS operating system. However, these are different concepts: Jailbreaking is the bypass of several types of Apple prohibitions for the end user, including modifying the operating system (enforced by a "locked bootloader"), installing non-officially approved applications via sideloading, and granting the user elevated administration-level privileges (rooting). Many vendors such as XIaomi, Sony, Asus, and Google explicitly provide the ability to unlock devices and even replace the operating system entirely.-Similarly, the ability to sideload applications is typically permissible on Android devices without root permissions. Thus, it is primarily the third aspect of iOS jailbreaking (giving users administrative privileges) that most directly correlates to Android rooting.

Advantages

Advantages of rooting include the possibility for complete control over the look and feel of the device. As a superuser has access to the device's system files, all aspects of the operating system can be customized with the only real limitation being the level of coding expertise. Immediately expectable advantages of rooted devices include the following:

 

  • Support for themes, allowing everything to be visually changed from the color of the battery icon to the boot animation that appears while the device is booting, and more.
  • Full control of the kernel, which, for example, allows overclocking and underclocking the CPU and GPU.
  • Full application control, including the ability to backup, restore, or batch edit applications, or to remove bloatware that comes pre-installed on many phones.
  • Custom automated system-level processes through the use of third-party applications.
  • Ability to install a custom FIRMWARE (also known as a custom ROM) or software (such as Xposed, Magisk, BusyBox, etc.) that allows additional levels of control on a rooted device.
  • full customization for just about every theme/graphic
  • download of any app, regardless of the app store they’re posted on
  • extended battery life and added performance
  • updates to the latest version of Android if your device is outdated and no longer updated by the manufacturer

Mobile security advice

 

 

  • If you still want to root your device, make sure you research the process very well, as it differs depending on the smartphone type and brand. It’s better you ask for expert advice on dedicated forums, or better yet, ask a tech-savvy person to root it for you. All these in order to ensure you don’t turn your device into a brick.
  • Install proper antivirus protection for your Android phone, even before rooting the device, to fend off malware infections.
  • Here’s some good news: say you do resort to rooting your device. If for some reason you change your mind about it, you can always un-root it. In this case, too, it’s better you ask for expert help.

Preventing rooting for security
Providing full access to an operating system's source code opens the possibility for users to unintentionally corrupt the proper functioning of their phones. It can also allow other apps to potentially cause damage. For example, unwittingly installing a malicious app could completely disable, or "brick," your phone, or worse, give the app access to the complete functionality and data in your phone.

By default, your user account isn't logged in as root, so all your apps have the usual limited permissions and access.

Why override security to root a phone?
For advanced users, rooting allows them to perform tasks and make changes that they require that go beyond the usual functioning of the device. For example, they can flash variations of the Android operating system that may be more useful for their specific needs.
Rooting a phone also allows a user to install non-standard apps that allow a user to do things that the manufacturers, phone carriers, and phone makers don't ordinarily permit.
Google, the creator of the Android operating system, is not completely opposed to rooting. They could make rooting harder on Android devices, but they don't. You can also find apps designed to run on rooted Android devices in the Google Play store. If Google were out to quash rooting, this would not be the case. If you're going to install root access apps, sticking to the Google Play store is a way to limit the possibility of installing a malicious app that could take advantage of your phone's rooted status—but it isn't a guarantee of safety.

Consequences of rooting
Rooting your phone will void your device's warranty, and given the potential to permanently break your phone, this could be a costly adventure for amateurs. Your phone will also no longer be able to install updates released by Google in a familiar way. You will have to manage maintenance and updates on your own.
Rooting, jailbreaking, and unlocking your phone has gone through legal gray periods. Unlocking your phone allows you to use it on other carriers, and is different from rooting and jailbreaking. For a time, it was illegal to unlock your phone to use on another carrier—even if you had purchased it and were no longer under contract with a carrier. That changed in 2014 when the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama. This law permits any cell phone or smartphone user to unlock their phone and move to another carrier if they have fulfilled all their phone contract requirements.
Rooting and jailbreaking are different from unlocking. Though the Library of Congress Copyright Office, which has regulatory jurisdiction over the area, ruled in 2010 that jailbreaking a phone is a legal action, phone manufacturers generally do not want their customers "hacking" their devices, and doing so will void the device's warranty.

Does rooting damage your phone?
Manufacturers of Android-powered mobile devices don’t encourage rooting. Unskilled handling of Superuser permissions can cause smartphones and tablets breakdown. However, the risk for an experienced user to damage the phone is minimal, while the potential advantages of mobile rooting, judging by the list above, are impressive.

We can single out three main dangers of enabling root access:

1. Getting out of warranty. Some carriers refuse a warranty repair when they find out that your phone was rooted.
Yet keep in mind that you can disable root access to the filesystem of a mobile device any time. If you need to give your device to repair, simply roll back to factory firmware, and no one is going to find out that your device was rooted.
2. Your phone turning into a “brick”. In case rooting goes wrong, your phone risks turning into a so-called “brick”.
A safe way of avoiding phone breakdown is following the instructions from reliable web resources. Make sure that the algorithm is applicable to your device and custom firmware is compatible with it.
Examine reviews by the users of the same device as yours: they may have already either rooted it or turned into a “brick” and are being weirded out.
3. Increased security vulnerability. Gaining root access on Android also undermines security. Services and applications with unrestricted root permissions can make the system prone to malware, that’s why Google refuses technical support of its services (for instance, Google Wallet) to rooted devices.

Industry reaction

Until 2010, tablet and smartphone manufacturers, as well as mobile carriers, were mainly unsupportive of third-party firmware development. Manufacturers had expressed concern about improper functioning of devices running unofficial software and related support costs. Moreover, firmware such as OmniROM and CyanogenMod sometimes offer features for which carriers would otherwise charge a premium, such as tethering. Due to that, technical obstacles such as locked bootloaders and restricted access to root permissions have commonly been introduced in many devices. For example, in late December 2011, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com, Inc. began pushing automatic, over-the-air firmware updates, 1.4.1 to Nook Tablets and 6.2.1 to Kindle Fires, that removed one method to gain root access to the devices. The Nook Tablet 1.4.1 update also removed users' ability to sideload apps from sources other than the official Barnes & Noble app store (without modding).

However, as community-developed software began to grow popular in late 2009 to early 2010, and following a statement by the Copyright Office and Librarian of Congress (US) allowing the use of "jailbroken" mobile devices, manufacturers and carriers have softened their position regarding CyanogenMod and other unofficial firmware distributions. Some manufacturers, including HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and Sony Mobile Communications actively provide support and encourage development.

In 2011, the need to circumvent hardware restrictions to install unofficial firmware lessened as an increasing number of devices shipped with unlocked or unlockable bootloaders, similar to the Nexus series of phones. Device manufacturer HTC has announced that it would support aftermarket software developers by making the bootloaders of all new devices unlockable. However, carriers, such as Verizon Wireless and more recently AT&T, have continuously blocked OEMs, such as HTC and Motorola, from releasing retail devices with unlocked bootloaders, opting instead for "developer edition" devices that are only sold unsubsidized and off-contract. These are similar in practice to Nexus devices, but for a premium and with no contract discounts.

In 2014, Samsung released a security service called Knox, which is a tool that prevents all modifying of system and boot files, and any attempts set an eFuse to 0x1, permanently voiding the warranty.

Thanks To Kuasha
Courtesy: Google