security google io 2014 keynote (37 of 41)

Although device encryption has been available as a security measure to Android users for a while now, Google is stepping up user security in Android L by turning on device encryption by default.

Niki Christoff is a spokeswoman for Google and has been quoted as saying “As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won’t even have to think about turning it on.”

There are many security benefits to encrypting your Android device, including, but not limited to, preventing would be thieves from accessing your data on device without your password, and even blocking law enforcement from accessing data like your stored messages and photos. Google makes it clear that they do not store any encryption keys off of device, so they cannot help law enforcement access your phone, even if they wanted to.

android encryption

While the encryption process will be setup within the device activation process, thus making it a default setting, users will have to keep in mind that the security pin or password they put in place should remain private and secure. Let’s face it, if you lose or forget this password, you will be locked out too.

Another major benefit to device encryption, aside from being a theft deterrent, is that your personal files will no longer be able to survive a device factory reset. We recently reported that determined individuals were able to recover many personal files from a collection of devices that had been factory reset and were on their way for resale as used electronics. A little bit scary, but will not be a factor for new Android L devices.

Android Device Manager

As a default offering, this is a great move by Google to go a step above and beyond their Android Device Manager‘s remote locate and wipe functionality to protect users and their data. We also suspect that this is a part of Google’s overall strategy to comply with new California law requiring new devices to ship with anti-theft measures baked in. It may be of note that Apple has also just announced they will have similar measures in iOS 8.

Have you been using Android’s device encryption or other more drastic security measures?