eelo android os privacy

Eelo, an Android OS that protects your privacy

Gaël Duval, creator of the successful, early Linux distro Mandrake Linux, is sick of both iOS’s restrictions and battery malware. He’s also tired of Google looking over everyone’s shoulders. So he’s developing his own Android-based mobile operating system that puts privacy first: eelo.

Duval believes, “Apple, Google, Facebook etc., business models are dangerous for our economic and social environments.”

Stock Android is dependent on Google services, which means users can be tracked.
So, eelo uses open-source software. Duval aims to protect privacy while still including online services and a user-friendly interface.

Duval doesn’t want eelo to be a business, but a free product that will make Android users safer. “I want eelo to be a non-profit project in the public interest,” he says.

Duval wans eelo to be easy for anyone to use an understand. That made him reject Firefox’s OS.

Duval also will not try to make a smartphone operating system using Linux, as others have tried. He’s launching eelo from existing Android clone LineageOS.

But LineageOS, a CyanogenMod fork, is not enough for his goals:
“The core of AOSP [Android Open Source Project]/LineageOS is usable and performing well, but it’s not stable enough for my needs: the design is not very attractive and there are tons of micro-details that can be showstoppers for a regular user. Also, unless you are a geek, LineageOS is not realistically useable if you don’t want Google inside.”

Admitting he’s not the person to do the whole project himself, Duval hired a full-stack developer. Their first release will be a launcher, notification system, and ‘control center.’ Eelo started running in beta after a few weeks of work.

The biggest challenge isn’t changing the front end, but taking Google Services, Play Store, and Play Services out of the equation. While Android users don’t absolutely need these, they do come in handy and people are used to them. Instead, Duval plans on employing MicroG, Magisk Manager, Droid, and APKPure, all alternatives to Google’s proprietary Android materials.

For search, eelo will offer DuckDuckGo and Qwant, both search engines that protect privacy. Eelo will also offer a choice of search engines, including Google, if that’s what the user wants. Sometimes it’s hard to get away from Google.

Eelo isn’t going to replace hardware drivers as it’s not building a phone, rather creating an alternative OS.

Duval is welcoming help on eelo’s page, where the main goal is to raise $120,000 to keep the work going.

Many people are anxious about privacy, but with all the hacking and malware becoming increasingly sophisticated, maybe eelo’s time has come.

Haven app stands guard over your phone


Edward Snowden’s app lets your smartphone watch your laptop

If you’re like most people, your laptop contains not only your spreadsheets and cat videos, but your entire life: passwords, messages, encryption keys, your trail of Web sites you’ve visited, and your diary.

While you need a password to get in, when it comes down to it, someone can figure out how to. Security experts call these kinds of attacks “evil maid” attacks, a term coined by JoannaRutkowska, founder of the secure Qubes operating system.


Edward Snowden to the rescue. The famed NSA whistleblower and a team of coders have a new, open source Android App, Haven, that you can put on a smartphone and have the phone guard your laptop. Using the mic, light detector, motion detector, and more, the phone can see if someone is in the room, has turned on a light, or more. Haven is now on F-Droid and in the Play Store. The Guardian Project, a worldwide group of mobile security app developers, also are collaborating.

Haven fixes a problem that plagues laotpos. Even a “secure boot” with a tamper-resistant chip that guards the bootloader code’s purity can be be tricked by malicious code. Some computer owners have resorted to painting glitter nail polish on their laptop screws so they;d be able to tell if a tamperer has been there. Also collaborating on Haven is the Guardian Project, a global collective of mobile security app developers.

If you’ve got a phone with Haven, you could lock your computer in, say, a hotel safe, which in itself isn’t that safe. But with the phone monitoring it, you would know if somebody has opened the safe, since light could get in. The mic might hear noises or words, and even take a photo of the villain. And the app will store the evidence.

Haven can send you encrypted, real-time alerts. Naturally, you would need to put Haven on an extra phone that stays with your laptop, and carry your own phone with you. You can use a Tor browser or a Tor onion (darknet) site to view these alerts securely, or easier, you can go a bit less cloak-and-dagger and opt for Signal or SMS notifications.

One issue of course is that not everyone entering a room has any bad intent, so you may experience needless anxiety. Haven is probably not for the paranoid, yet it may appeal to same.

A useful task for Haven is to act as a cheap security system for when you’re away, for instance, it could send you photos of your front door. Or to help wildlife, you could monitor the woods for poachers.

It’s easier to use Haven if you have a phone with a data plan, though there are workarounds. Also, if you’re going away for a long time, you have to leave Haven plugged in, as the battery won’t last that long.

Remember to secure the Haven phone itself from clever evil maids (and butlers!) who might try to hack in. Use a strong password. Encrypt your phone. Turn off unused radios, such as NFC and bluetooth; opt for mobile data over Wi-fi.

Worrying about burglars is probably more common than worrying about hackers breaking in, but then, it depends who you are. If you’re Edward Snowden, burglars may not be the biggest thing your mind. physically-guard-your-laptop/

Loapi virus can melt your smartphone

loapi virus
There’s a new virus in town, and this one’s so lethal it can literally melt a
hole in your Android smartphone.
Fortunately, it’s not in the Google Play store. But it is being spread through
third-party stores and ads that trick you into thinking you’re downloading
antivirus apps or even porn. In fact, it disguises itself as at least 20
different apps in the adult and antivirus categories, including Kaspersky, whose researchers discovered and dissected the bug.
loapi virus
Kaspersky Labs calls it a “Jack of All Trades” (perhaps it should be Hack?) because there’s little this Trojan, called Loapi, doesn’t do. It can launch DDOS attacks, send texts, download other apps, sign you up for paid subscriptions, nag you with ads, and mine tokens of Monero cryptocurrency.
It’s that last, demanding task that overheats the battery so much that your
battery can swell up and burst through the phone cover. (Researchers found this takes just two days).
Loapi will force you to let it take over your phone by tormenting you with pop-
ups requesting admin permissions until you give in. After that, it keeps its
manager permissions by locking the screen and closing phone windows. It
communicates with C&C servers, convincing the system that your real antivirus apps are malware, again using looping popups until you give in and delete the good app.
“Loapi is an interesting representative from the world of malicious Android
apps. Its creators have implemented almost the entire spectrum of techniques for attacking devices: the Trojan can subscribe users to paid services, send SMS messages to any number, generate traffic and make money from showing advertisements, use the computing power of a device to mine cryptocurrencies, as well as perform a variety of actions on the internet on behalf of the user/device,” say the researchers.
Booting to Safe Mode is the first step to eradicatin  the stubborn bug. If the
handset isn’t in Safe Mode, the user won’t be able to revoke the virus’s admin
privileges, because the virus will lock the user out of the Settings window. (It
may be a good idea to learn how to boot to Safe Mode on your particular
smartphone before you ever get a virus.)
Loapi can even download new modules from a remote command center, allowing its abilities to ever expand. It could be a banking Trojan one day, and morph into spyware or ransomware the next. The experts even detected that the virus has yet unused abilities that could let it go even farther. It’s the gift that keeps on taking.
Another good reason to be careful of what you download. To avoid these types of disasters, Kaspersky recommends that you take basic precautions: Only download apps from the official Google Play store, which has decent (if not perfect)
security and a team dedicated to eradicating mobile viruses. Also, be sure to
uncheck the Unknown Sources box in your phone’s security settings. Use an
antimalware program, even a free one. And only download apps you need; the
fewer apps, the less risk.