Google adds default device encryption & Smart Lock in Android 5.0

Android device encryption
Device encryption settings in Android 4.4 KitKat

Although Android has included device encryption for the last three years, it has never been enabled by default and very few of the Android users actually knew about feature, but Google is changing that with Android 5.0 Lollipop. The search giant recently revealed on the official Android blog that the new devices running Android 5.0 will have device encryption since the first boot, however the users of the older devices, who will be getting Android 5.0 update in the coming months, will have to manually enable the feature.

“The moment you power on a new device running Lollipop, keeping your data safer without needing you to fiddle around in the settings. Full device encryption occurs at first boot, using a unique key that never leaves the device. This is the safest way to encrypt your device, which is why it’s how we’ve built encryption on Android since it first launched three years ago,” Android team wrote in the blog post.

In addition to the device encryption, Google has also included something called “Smart Lock” to make Android devices more secure. According to Google, smartphone or tablet users don’t typically use PIN or password based locks on their devices because of the effort involved in unlocking the devices but with Smart Lock, Google is hoping to make it slightly easier to unlock your devices. Google notes that with Smart Lock, Android 5.0 users will be able tell their phones or tablets to unlock using Bluetooth pairing or NFC. Face Unlock has also been improved to be quicker.

Lastly, Google has also made some changes on the code-level to further secure Android.  The company has made SELinux enforcing compulsory for all apps on the device.

“With Android 5.0, SELinux Enforcing mode is required for all applications on all devices. Multiple vulnerabilities have been prevented since we first introduced SELinux last year; by strengthening it even more, Android becomes a top choice for enterprise customers that have really strict security standards, such as the government,” Android team wrote.

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