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Chainfire talks Android Lollipop and the future of rooting

Chainfire, the developer behind SuperSU, has taken to Google+ to talk about his latest root exploit for Android Lollipop preview builds and why rooting may prove to be a much more difficult task in the future.
By
October 21, 2014
SuperSU

Chainfire, the developer behind SuperSU, has taken to Google+ to talk about his latest root exploit for Android Lollipop preview builds and why rooting may prove to be a much more difficult task in the future.

There has been much talk about the additional security offered with Android Lollipop, but this is what’s proving to be a hindrance to traditional and exploitative rooting methods, according to Chainfire. Strict SELinux demands have been breaking SuperSU’s start-up initialization and Google’s developers working on the preview builds have been patching up holes as they go, breaking working root methods with each update.

The solution to this problem is to flash a modified kernel package that allows the daemon to start up properly. However, this brings up an entirely new problem of its own. Devices with locked bootloaders become unrootable, as you can’t change the kernel.

If all that wasn’t problematic enough, existing apps which require root permissions, and even some that don’t, are likely to be affected by the security changes. Lollipop introduces additional restrictions which will make it harder for apps to branch out from what is sanctioned by the official SDK. This could be overridden, but at the expense of system security.

While the situation can and is likely to change during the run-up to Android Lollipop’s official arrival, it seems that avoiding carrier branded and locked handsets is the best advice for those you want to root their smartphones in the future.