• Android: Protecting your network data from local snooping

    There's been a lot of news of late about the likes of NSA and GCHQ passively listening to Internet traffic. The steps in this post won't protect you from such a well resourced attacker, but will prevent others on open wifi networks and your mobile data provider from looking at the content of your phone's network traffic.

    A good example of the data that can easily be collected can be seen in this recent Ars Technica post.

    In this post, we'll be configuring an Android phone to conditionally connect to an OpenVPN server, dependant on whether it's associated with a specific WLAN

  • The State of Mobile Banking (in the UK)

    News recently broke that Tesco Bank's Android App refuses to run when Tor is also installed on the handset, presumably in the name of security.

    So, out of morbid curiousity, I thought I'd take a quick look at just how effectively various banking apps were secured. Banks, after all, should be at the forefront of security (even if they often aren't)

    To start with a disclaimer - personally, I think using banking services on any mobile device is a bad idea from the outset, and some of the results definitely support that idea. I've only taken a cursory look, and not made any attempt to dis-assemble any of the apps.

     

  • Xiaomi MIUI "Can't Connect To Internet" on Wireless Network

    Google's Android OS used to have an annoying feature - smart network switch - which would inevitably lead to it sitting there, not using your wireless network, displaying the message "No network access".

    This usually happened as you got home, because it had picked up your wifi at the very extreme edge of it's reach, and the test probes had failed as a result.

    The functionality works by placing some test HTTP requests when connected to a wifi network - if those requests fail, it's considered that the wifi doesn't have network access. This (fairly flawed) methodology doesn't properly account for a range of possible failures in the test itself.

     

    Xiaomi

    Unfortunately, Xiaomi appear to have felt the need to replicate this behaviour in MIUI - the only real difference is that Xiaomi's functionality displays "Can't Connect to Internet" on the wifi network.

    The result is that having previously been to the margins of your coverage, you'll eventually notice that your phone is relying on mobile data instead of wifi, and has eaten your battery (and your data allowance) as a result.

    Anecdotally, the issue seems to have become more prevalent recently.