CyanogenMod Device Finder Service Details Revealed

One of the biggest problems a smartphone owner faces is losing his or her device. The problem is even greater if it gets stolen since personal data can be extracted from it. This is why we have various security apps right now that work by tracking the lost phone and erasing its data. One concern when using these apps is that they themselves are not secure and can be used by unauthorized persons to spy on the owner of the device.

CyanogenMod may just have the solution to this as they reveal their new Device Finder service. The difference between this service and the other locator apps available for Android devices is that it does not store passwords and encrypted keys on the servers. What it does is it allows the user’ browser to communicate directly with the lost device. This reduces the chances that an unauthorized person can steal the login information.

The Device Finder service is an optional tool that users can sign up to which adds additional features to the CM installation. Right now its source code has already been posted for developers to test. It will be included in upcoming CyanogenMod ROM releases.

CyanogenMod Device Finder works by first creating a secure connection between the browser (javascript) and the smartphone. A public key is first generated by the browser that needs to be validated by the smartphone as being authentic. The smartphone then sends back an encrypted symmetric key using the public key. The server in no way can decrypt the information passing through it as it only serves to transport information.

Once the smartphone and the browser have a secure communication channel a person can then proceed to either track the location or wipe the data of the device from the browser.

For those who are particular about privacy concerns the CyanogenMod team made it clear that

  • We have no interest in selling your data.
  • We cannot track you or wipe your device. We designed the protocol in such a way that makes it impossible for anyone but you to do that.

via cyanogenmod

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