Google is adding a restricted settings feature in the Android 13 betas that helps prevent malicious apps from using accessibility settings to take action. This adds more security to the operating system.
We already know a few new security and privacy features on Android 13, but we learn about them regularly. We already knew that application permissions would be more controlled on this new version, with the splitting of photos and videos with audio files. Also, we know that Android 13 will restrict notifications, applications will have to have your prior consent.
Now Android 13 will prevent apps installed outside of the Play Store from abusing accessibility APIs. This function aims to prevent malicious applications from acting through the system’s accessibility services.
Restricted settings for some apps
It was Mishaal Rahman, Android expert, who noticed this feature in a beta of the mobile operating system. He noticed that when an application is identified as malicious by the smartphone, the accessibility settings of said application are no longer accessible. In his tests, he found that a dialog box named ” Restricted settingappears and indicates that the accessibility setting in question is not available.
Don’t know which Beta this was added in, but Android 13’s new “restricted setting” feature will also block the user from enabling an app’s Notification Listener if the app was sideloaded using a non-session-based package installer!
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman)
In the example he gave, malicious apps could no longer have access to the NotificationListenerService API, which allows apps to “ to intercept and interact with all notifications on behalf of the user ” writingXDA Developers. We can think that a malicious application could access sensitive information via notifications. This is what Google wants to prevent with this restriction on the use of accessibility settings.
This restriction will not apply to apps installed through an app store like the Google Play Store.XDA Developersdeclares that shewill only block apps downloaded by users […] through a browser or messaging app“. A workaround exists to overcome this blocking of Android 13.
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