Google's Adiantum Lets Even Cheap Android Smartphones Get Encryption


Google has announced Adiantum, a new kind of encryption designed for low-end devices.

It's a part of its weeklong celebration of Safer Internet Day, which was on Feb. 5.

Adiantum Encryption

Storage encryption is becoming a bigger deal by the day, which isn't a surprise to see considering all the data privacy issues and breaches of late. In fact, it's been a requirement for most manufacturers since the inception of Android 6.0 Marshmallow in 2015.

The thing is, not all devices are capable of supporting it. In particular, low-power smartphones, tablets, computers, and the like become slow and unserviceable because of it.

Handsets powered by Android Go are an example in this case. Typically, they come with just 1 GB of RAM and a low-range processor to keep the costs down. However, as a result, they either disable encryption by default or not even include it at all so that they can function properly.

In a security blog post, Google explains that underpowered chipsets such as ARM Cortex-A7 doesn't even support the Advanced Encryption Standard or AES. When it's on these devices, it would make them slow and unusable. That said, the company is introducing Adiantum as a solution to the issue.

"Adiantum is a new form of encryption that we built specifically to run on phones and smart devices that don't have the specialized hardware to use current methods to encrypt locally stored data efficiently. Adiantum is designed to run efficiently without that specialized hardware," Eugene Liderman, director of mobile security strategy of the Android security and privacy team at Google, says in a blog post.

A Safer Internet For All

Google has been up and about in making the internet a safer place. Its other recent notable efforts include launching the Password Checkup extension for Chrome and imposing stricter restrictions on Android app developers regarding the device permissions they ask for, specifically call and SMS access requests.

It doesn't end with software measures either. The company also aims to educate users in spotting suspicious emails and the like with its recently uploaded phishing quiz.

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