It doesn’t always make the front pages, but device security is still one of the most important topics for Android users. Whether it’s for protection from exploits that can brick a phone or apps that have permissions they really don’t need, users and developers are always on the lookout for potentially dangerous applications. One app some use is XDA Forum Member svyat‘s PDroid, which is now ported to the Verizon Samsung Galaxy S III.
XDA Recognized Developer TrevE has released the port for the Verizon Galaxy S III. It functions just like PDroid is supposed to. For those who don’t know what it does exactly, here’s an explanation from TrevE:
PDroid is a (awesome) security framework similar to superuser but allows selective blocking of app permissions. It creates a “proxy” between the actual permissions and the PDroid framework which allow passing of different return data.
Because of the proxy created this method is better than apps which just remove permissions from manifests because it should not cause any fcs- Apps will never know the difference. It also allows patching permissions such as location/android id/camera to return spoofed data.
PDroid is a very complex mod across many parts of framework.
In more simple terms, PDroid allows users to control what permissions applications can have. This is an excellent app because it can stop a malicious app dead in its tracks, before it has a chance to do any damage by accessing features or information that you don’t want to grant. And since it uses a proxy method to prevent unwanted access, this prevents the force closes present with other methods of permission blocking. Any Android user who wants to micromanage app permissions should definitely give this a look.
To learn more, go to the original thread.
While Samsung may not always update every device with the urgency that we as users all crave, one thing they definitely got right was releasing the same device for multiple carriers with only minimal changes. This makes it very easy for developers and users from different carriers to work together to fix problems, develop ROMs, and have other sorts of fun. For instance, there is now a guide that walks users through the process of porting any ROM from a US variant of the Galaxy S III to any other US variant.
XDA Recognized Developer PureMotive released the tutorial, and it helps end users port both TouchWiz and AOSP-derived ROMs from one variant to the next. As the devices have strikingly similar hardware, porting ROMs requires only a few changes. As PureMotive outlines for TouchWiz ROMs:
In the ROM you want to port – delete /system/etc/apns-conf.xml
Replace the apns-conf.xml you just deleted with the one from the ROM for your carrier
Open up /system/build.prop in Notepad++
Locate every instance of d2att, d2tmo, or d2spr and replace it with d2vzw (Use CTRL+F if you have to)
Save the build.prop after all changes are made
That’s essentially all that it takes to make a ROM compatible with your device. These instructions were written specifically for porting to the Verizon variant of the Galaxy S III, but it can be used on other devices with very minor changes. Porting an AOSP-based ROM requires a little more work, but the idea is pretty much the same. Just make sure that the source ROM is from another US variant, and not from the International SGS3!
To see the full method, check out the original thread.
December 27, 2012 By: Former Writer
It is not very often that we throw around the words “game changer.” There have been a great deal of impressive developments here at XDA over the years. However, game changers are indeed a rarity. There have been a couple of recent breakthroughs on the Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Camera, and other Samsung Exynos-based devices.
XDA Elite Recognized Developers adamoutler and Rebellos have figured out how to boot from the SD card. We’re not talking chroot style dual booting, either. We’re talking full boot with an open source bootloader. In addition, they also have Fastboot working on the Galaxy Camera. As adamoutler explains:
What’s this mean? We can now work INSIDE the Samsung TrustZone on production devices! This means some serious debugging of bootloaders is possible. What does this REALLY mean? It means that not only do we have a way to get away from Samsung closed source bootloaders, but we can now boot TOTALLY from SDCard on the Galaxy Camera and the Galaxy S3…. What’s that mean? We can fix brick-bugged Galaxy S3 devices!
There is still a lot of work to be done though, as is outlined here:
1. EMMC Disable hardware mod (can be undone later)
2. UART hookups for debugging and working in fastboot mode.
3. attempting to rework GS3 Ramdisk for SDCard boot.
4. recreating the proper partition structure on a 16 gig.
This is huge news. Users of devices with Exynos processors now have a second option besides booting from the usual EMMC. The mod is far from complete, but with this mod in place, it is literally impossible to permanently brick at least the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Camera. There is no doubt that more devices will follow in time. Instead of recovering the EMMC chip and booting from that again, one must perform a simple hardware mod and boot straight from a SD card. If you happen to brick again, just replace the SD card.
In addition, being able to use an open source bootloader means that users no longer have to worry about flashing a locked bootloader to save their device. To make things even better, Adam says other things are possible as well. These include booting alternate operating systems, but really, the possibilities are endless. Adam also touches briefly on this mod in his latest video, Best Hacks of 2012. There is likely going to be a lot more about this development as it develops, so keep your eyes peeled.
To keep tabs on this development in progress, check out the original thread.
December 18, 2012 By: Former Writer
Carriers in the United States (other than Sprint) generally aren’t fans of Google Wallet. According to Verizon, it’s because of Google Wallet’s “secure element”, but just about everyone knows it’s really because T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon are getting ready to launch their own NFC payment app, called Isis. US Samsung Galaxy S III variants now have an app that installs and enables Google Wallet quickly and painlessly.
XDA Senior Member Prl91 released an application that takes the Google Wallet installation process and turns it into a one-click solution. Of course, you’ll need root access. The app is free and available in the Google Play Store. Here is the full list of supported devices and requirements to run:
Currently Supports: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and US Cellular Samsung Galaxy S3’s.
Requires ROOT, an UNLOCKED BOOTLOADER, and BUSYBOX.
Wallet Installer will install Google Wallet on most US based Samsung Galaxy S3’s.
The process to install Google Wallet isn’t difficult, but it’s a little tedious. Users have to edit the build.prop, install the proper NFC libs, set up Google Wallet, then edit the build.prop back to its original values. Depending on whether you are running ICS, JB, and AOSP, the process can differ a little bit. The app does all of this for all of the supported devices by itself. If you’re a fan of Google Wallet, then this is the app you’re looking for.
For additional details, check out the original thread.
One of the first things many developers and users do when obtaining a new device or a new firmware update is figure out what’s wrong with it. Fortunately for bug hunters (and unfortunately for everyone else) there is always something wrong, even with the most popular and polished devices. However, there is almost always a fix made available. Now, there is a fix for at least one of the WiFi roaming bugs for the Samsung Galaxy S III.
XDA Forum Member felixchris released a hack that fixes at least one of the three potential WiFi roaming bugs. That means there are two that aren’t fixed, but a step forward is a step forward. Out of the three, only bug number three on the list is fixable. Here is felixchris’ explanation on which ones are which:
- If the phone now connects to AP2 and shows a high signal strength, you are observing the Galaxy S2 bug –> Bug 1 in the list
– If the phone still connects to AP1 and shows a low signal strength, you are observing the Nexus bug –> Bug 2 in the list
– If the signal strength seems to increase while getting closer to AP2, but then the wifi icon disappears briefly and comes back after a few seconds, and the web radio stream drops, you are observing the Galaxy S3 bug, and this workaround will help you. –> Bug 3 in the list
In these examples, AP1 and AP2 are WiFi access points. The bugs deal with the device not being able to manage two connections very well. Bug 3 on the list is the one that is fixable with a hack.
There are two methods to apply the fix. One is a version that doesn’t require a custom recovery, otherwise known as the old fashioned long way. The other involves flashing a zip in a custom recovery. Once installed, Bug 3 shouldn’t be an issue any longer.
For more details, check out the original thread.
December 17, 2012 By: Former Writer
Root exploits are often quite a good thing. There are many that only work on certain individual devices. However, there are some that work on a whole bunch of devices. An example of the latter is a root exploit by XDA Recognized Developer Bin4ry that works on a variety of devices. And now we have news of a dangerous, new exploit that works on Exynos 4210- and 4412-based devices.
XDA Forum Member alephzain released the exploit that affects pretty much any device with an Exynos 4412 or 4210 processor. This includes the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Samsung Galaxy S III, Meizu MX, and the Galaxy S II, among many others. Here’s how alephzain explains the root method:
Recently discover a way to obtain root on S3 without ODIN flashing.
The security hole is in kernel, exactly with the device /dev/exynos-mem.
This device is R/W by all users and give access to all physical memory … what’s wrong with Samsung ?
Its like /dev/mem but for all.
Three libraries seems to use /dev/exynos-mem:
Essentially, this exploit can be used to root any device with the aforementioned processors. What’s more, this method wouldn’t require an Odin flash like most current root methods. However, this exploit could be dangerous. Not only could be used to acquire root access, but for malicious applications as well. So developers will have a fun time helping to fix the issues while using the exploit for root.
For more details, check out the original thread. Do keep in mind, though, that this is posted in the new Samsung Galaxy Note II developer-only forum, so don’t post saying thanks or anything as the thread will be used for developers to develop things only.
December 13, 2012 By: Former Writer
Now that 4.2 AOSP and CM10.1 ROMs have had more than a few releases, momentum seems to be picking up. Much like the frenzy of AOSP-based ROMs over the summer, it started with just a few and has become more widespread very quickly. Now, two more devices have gotten unofficial CM10.1 ROMs: the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S III and the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S III.
XDA Recognized Themer itsmikeramsay released the ROMs for both devices. This is likely because the US variants of the Galaxy S III are very similar. As such, the list of things not working on these early builds are identical and include:
~ MTP Support (May Show SD-Card as Internal Storage and Vice-a-Versa when mounted)
~ Bluetooth is sporadic (Works from boot, don’t turn if off if you need it)
~ Headphone jack doesn’t work ONLY during calls
~ Lockscreen shortcuts FC when setting “System Icons” outside of Stock Theme
Another important thing to note is that the internal storage does not get deleted, but rather it is simply moved to /storage/emulated/0. It’s been a trend that the internal SD card is changed somewhat when flashing Android 4.2 due to the multiple users feature—even on phones, which don’t normally have access to this feature. The 0 stands for the primary user. Since the issues all have workarounds for the most part, these are actually very good ROMs if you don’t mind not having a camera.
The whole subject of whether you should unlock your device from carrier restrictions while under contract is debatable. However, it does have legitimate use case scenarios such as switching to another carrier while travelling in areas where your carrier doesn’t provide adequate coverage. After all, who doesn’t want to avoid hefty roaming charges when travelling abroad?
If you have the Sprint variant of Samsung Galaxy S III and want to switch to another carrier, you’re in luck! XDA Forum Member pid1981 shared a method that lets you change the SPC code on the to 000000, allowing you to use your Sprint Galaxy S3 with other CDMA carriers that support the device.
You can find the complete method in the forum thread. Although it isn’t exactly aimed at newbies, it should be simple enough to follow if you don’t mind doing a radio downgrade, some hex editing, and a radio upgrade.
December 12, 2012 By: Former Writer
CyanogenMod10.1 has been making its way around the forums as of late. Granted, they’re mostly unofficial builds, but any step forward is a step in the right direction. Now, CM10.1 has made to another device, the Samsung Galaxy S III I9300.
Like the build announced earlier today for the Galaxy Tab 2, XDA Elite Recognized Developer codeworkx took the reigns on this unofficial release as well. It’s a pretty early build so there are some issues, including:
- UI: Apps like NHK are broken
– Camera: Recording effects broken
– Camera: Touch 2 focus issues with enabled flashlight
– Bluetooth: audio streaming sometimes becomes laggy or stops at a distance > 1m
– FM Radio: unsupported
– TV Out: unsupported, will never work (proprietary, undocumented)
– Lots of missing and yet unimplemented features
– and a lot more
So if you’re looking for AOSP Jelly Bean 4.2 and you want it to be stable, you’re going to have to wait a little bit longer. That’s expected, though, as 4.2 is still pretty new. In a change from the norm, codeworkx requests that no one who flashes this submit any bug reports because the legendary Team Hacksung knows them all already. So simply relax, sit back, try it out, and watch the developers develop.
If you’d like to try it out, go to the original thread.
[Thanks goes out to XDA Forum Member UrbanDrawer for the tip!]
December 5, 2012 By: Haroon Q. Raja
We brought you news of the international Samsung Galaxy S3 getting a leaked update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and it wasn’t long before Samsung began the official Android 4.1.1 roll out to what is undoubtedly among the most successful smartphones of the year. Today, Samsung has released the latest official 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update for the device. It brings several new features, most notably one which we’ve already seen on the Galaxy Note II.
Sammobile obtained the update, and XDA Recognized Developer Faryaab shared the news with us. Faryaab also updated his stock firmware thread with a download link for the latest release.
You can download the ROM in Odin-flashable format from the stock firmwares thread. Flashing is done through Odin as usual. If you’re not familiar with the program, don’t worry. The thread has a quick guide for that process as well.
December 4, 2012 By: Jimmy McGee
In this episode of XDA Developer TV, we show you how to root your Samsung Galaxy S III. The popularity of the Samsung Galaxy S III and its variants have produced a few rooting methods. There are many features you can gain by rooting your device. We present three step-by-step instructions on how to gain root access on your Samsung Galaxy S III using tools from the XDA Developers Forums.
The first process posted by XDA Recognized Contributor mrRobinson works for the AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint US variants. This method typically does not trip the flash counter, but can take some time. The second method is by XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire. This works for the three aforementioned US variants and the International version. This method is quick, but it does trip the flash counter. Finally, we cover the use of XDA Senior Moderator and Recognized Developer mskip’s toolkit. You can find versions for the four previously mentioned variants of the toolkit. This is a semi-automatic method and does trip the flash counter. So take a moment and check this video out.
December 3, 2012 By: Former Writer
As our readers are no doubt aware, the PACman ROM kang has appeared on a variety of devices. It’s a truly unique concept. It represents much of the best that AOSP has to offer currently all in a single package. It’s been spreading across XDA, and it seems like it’s going to keep going. PACman is now available on the HTC One S and the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S III.
XDA Recognized Developer klin1344 released the ROMs for both devices. Both ROMs are surprisingly stable. Outside of some initial problems here and there, users have reported that both ROMs are fairly stable and users can flash them as daily drivers. Of course, users are reporting some issues, but most of them so far have been from inexperience with various settings menus. As klin1344 explains:
Attention! Because this is a mashup of CM10, AOKP, and PA, there are some settings that might conflict with others because they are duplicate. Please keep that in mind before you begin to wonder if there is a bug in this ROM. Thanks.
November 19, 2012 By: egzthunder1
The eternal conundrum of data usage—you buy it on a monthly basis from your carrier and try to use it for any and all needs. If you travel as much as I do, you will know that the luxury of mid to pseudo high speed data on the go on your computer via tethering is a blessing in and of itself. Regardless of how advanced Android is, it still cannot match the utility you can get out of a real computer, whose only on-the-go limitation is the inability to connect to the Web when away from a hotspot. Because of this, WiFi Tether was created way back when.
Limitations in the firmware on most newer devices either disable or create a “wall” to prevent people from tethering (courtesy of the carriers who want to sell such services for a substantial monthly fee). Thankfully, we have very skilled people on XDA, who can get around things like this. One such individual is XDA Recognized Developer TrevE, who you may remember from a little saga he had against HTC and, most notably, CIQ around this time last year. Using the available source for WiFi Tether (which is GPL licensed) as well as some binaries coming from the CM team, TrevE has been able to “force” WiFi Tether to work on the most recent Jelly Bean TouchWiz (stock) ROMs. And as an added bonus, this also works on the HTC EVO 3D when loaded with a Sense 4.x ROM.
Please take it for a spin, and make sure you look at TrevE’s notes in the OP, as the app has the ability to cause some strange behavior if you do not use it correctly. Some of the issues include killing your WiFi altogether, whcih can be fixed with a simple reboot. As always, please leave some feedback for the developer.
Carriers hate tethering, you all know that. Use at your own risk/with common sense & dont blame me for anything that goes wrong
GS3 Specific- Make a system backup, it modifies sys files so theres a chance it will break something
Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.
[Thanks Virus for the tip!]