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Rooted android phones may soon lack a backdoor to run banking apps and popular games

For those of us who are a bit tech savvy and rely on rooting their android devices to customize to their liking, that possibility might soon vanish as SafetyNet tightens its grip with hardware-backed attestation that is somehow making Magisk unable to hide root. This is particularly important for some crucial banking apps such as Safaricom app, MPESA for business app, KCB’s Vooma app among others that don’t allow rooted devices.

As a hobby, I’ve always preferred bringing some old android phones to life by installing a custom ROM and of course swapping the battery if necessary, this has seen some old cool handsets such as the beloved HTC 10 run smoothly on android 10 despite coming out more than five years back. Google’s latest security measures might render this exercise fruitless as most important apps such as Pokémon Go and Netflix usually check your root status before being installed on your device.

Reports indicate that a section of Magisk users have noticed their device’s fail SafetyNet attestation. Though the restrictions seem to have been pulled off for now, Google quietly confirmed in early May that they were testing hardware-backed attestation for SafetyNet responses, which is apparently what rendered some devices unable to hide the bootloader unlocking status.

If there’s any truth in the reports, this development will surely put an ultimatum to consumers whether root access is important or running banking apps is more important to them. SafetyNet being a set of APIs in Google Play Services and the SafetyNet Attestation being one of them, checks for various things on your device including the bootloader unlock status. However, currently it does not reflect the real status of your android phone which in turn gives users an opportunity to root their devices while still being able to access root restricted apps.

We can root android devices then install Magisk to hide root status and run crucial banking, loan apps without any issues currently. If it were to stop, second hand mobile phone market will surely crunch in a way.

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