Home > Mobile Phones > Why Motorola’s Droid X eFuse is a good thing

Why Motorola’s Droid X eFuse is a good thing

When the computer industry decided to release operating systems with an open software architecture, they really didn’t have hackers in mind. All the industry was thinking about was functionality, some basic security to keep “honest people honest” and how an open software architecture would allow others to take the technology to new levels. Unfortunately, what the computer industry didn’t realize, is that hackers would take advantage of this open software architecture as well.

As someone who has spent many years chasing down hackers that can avoid detection by conventional security measures, I see the eFuse technology as a good thing.  (Read stories about the eFuse controversy here and here.) If a hacker obtains physical access to a phone and replaces the operating, how is the owner going to know that it contains a keylogger, information gatherer and covert means to send the information to the hacker? Is everyone so tech savvy that they can tell the difference between the real Android operating system and one that has been altered? I don’t think so.

SMobile Systems has an interesting report on their Website about Android spyware applications that can send all of a person’s SMS messages to a third party (Girlfriend Text Message Viewer) or track a phone’s location (Theft Aware) – all without a person’s knowledge or awareness that such applications exist on their phone. Hackers will soon start using these capabilities as well.  Rich Cannings, Android Security Lead, posted that a security researcher’s two applications were removed from the Android Market because “These applications intentionally misrepresented their purpose in order to encourage user downloads…”

I applaud Motorola on implementing eFuse, because it represents some foresight that the computer industry lacked to protect the best interests of the computing community. Those who complain that eFuse prevents them from doing as they please with a device they now own are only thinking about themselves and not the general good of the mobile phone community at large.

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  1. July 17, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Very interesting. While I agree that steps should be taken to remove or prevent malicious software from being installed on a phone, I know many people who use custom ROM’s and are disappointed that some newer phones will prevent the installation of them.

  2. Bob
    July 17, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Android/Droid is sounding more and more like Apple to me!

  3. Nic
    July 17, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Android was founded on the idea of openness. It will fail as company’s close it off. Why would so many people jailbreak their iphones and ipod touches? I couldn’t believe what I had been missing when I first jailbroke.

  4. Ulun
    July 18, 2010 at 6:30 am

    efuse is not talking about malicious software, it’s preventing the so called hackers to alter the ROM. If that’s the case, what the difference from buying an iphone…..

  5. July 20, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Easy solution: make the efuse present a suitably lurid warning that software has been changed. The decision should still lie with the user.

  6. July 20, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Indeed, this could be accomplished by allowing the customer to reset the efuse after it detected a software change, and resetting to the new checksum values.

  7. T.Osinubi
    September 29, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    So what happens when Motorola decides not upgrade the Droid X to Android 3.0? So now you have all you have a nice 1GHZ papaer weight? Obviously destined for some landfill, right?

    • September 30, 2010 at 3:15 am

      It’s not like the phone will stop working…

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