In Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google is getting really serious about the look and feel of the mobile experience. But it’s not just fancy animations and a flatter design; Google is also bunkering down on security in the latest release, with encryption turned on by default to ensure the safest and most secure Android yet.
In a new blog post, Google details how the company is adding a slew of new security features to Android 5.0 as it tries to “stay two steps ahead of the bad guys.”
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.
In addition to full encryption, Android’s Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) will be required for all applications on all devices, ensuring there’s less room for an attack. Google says vulnerabilities have been cut down significantly since SELinux was introduced last year, and it’s being moved further into the core of the OS to make Android 5.0 even more secure. Google hopes this move will make Android more enticing for enterprise customers—and maybe secure enough for the government, which recently approved the use of Samsung’s KNOX security platform.
The last feature, and the one most users will probably notice, is Android’s new Smart Lock capability. The new feature essentially allows users to unlock their phone using Bluetooth pairing, NFC or even your smiling face, no PIN or password required. If you own a Moto 360, for example, you can set your device to unlock while the two are paired; if the watch isn’t around, your device will revert to a PIN or password.
The good news is that your device will be more secure than ever with Android 5.0, though it’s something the FBI and other government agencies aren’t so happy with. Now the problem is actually getting the Lollipop update, though plenty of companies have already committed to getting their latest devices up to speed as quickly as possible.