Android phones had initiated multiple processors on a chip that required firmware to provide instructions to each processor on how to function. These chips were known as SoC or System on Chips. While the hardware or chip cannot be hacked, the firmware that provides instructions is a type of software and can be altered by malicious actors.
The Google Android team has been working over the years to ensure security in firmware and this process is known as “Firmware Hardening.” Once the update rolls out, it will mean improved security to stop online hijacking and opportunistic bug and vulnerability exploitation.
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Why Do We Need Firmware Hardening?
But why is firmware security so important? Having security procedures in place runs the danger of slowing down your components because the firmware is what instructs them on a very fundamental level. In turn, if the security processes are not adjusted properly, that could result in a significant delay in operation speeds. To address this long-standing threat, Google is turning to a wide range of partners.
Google is concentrating on the most vulnerable attack surfaces, such as Wi-Fi and cellular baseband processors, which are easily compromised without having physical access to the target device.
Also Read: Microsoft Warns About The Increasing Firmware Attacks
How Will Google Implement Firmware Hardening?
The Android developers at Google have also put a lot of effort towards completely recreating Android 13 features and functionalities in Rust. This programming language was created with built-in protection against memory attacks. Rust will continue to be used with future Android versions because the firm has noticed an impact and plans to do so moving forward with probably Android 14.
According to Google, the ecosystem partners are helping to strengthen the security of firmware that communicates with Android. The business mentions a number of mitigations designed to guard against attacks, including compiler-based sanitizers like BoundSan and IntSan. Additionally, the company plans to include firmware with additional memory safety features like auto-initialize memory.
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Can There Be Issues With Firmware Hardening?
According to Google, the issue with firmware hardening is that the proper balance must be struck in order to prevent too many performance hits. Security updates can drastically increase memory consumption and degrade performance because firmware frequently operates with significantly less memory and processing capacity than the Application Processor that runs Android.
Also Read: Google Introduces New Changes With Android 14 APIs
The Final Word On Google Makes Android Phones Safer By Making Changes In Firmware
Having said that, you won’t really notice all of these security upgrades. If they are done correctly, that is, and from what it appears, doing things correctly is basically the plan. Yet even so, this is a significant advance in Android security, and we eagerly await its arrival.
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