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Can Android devices be modified to prevent installing apps?

Posted on 2012-04-02
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Last Modified: 2012-05-03
Experts,

can Android device be modified to prevent access to Google Market and to install other apks without a custom Android image? For example, would a MDM solution be able to prevent installing other apps?

I'm asking because according to the Android security framework one app can't control other apps so a MDM app shouldn't be able to. However, an OS integrated MDM solution should be able to dictate policies around installing open market apps.

Thanks!
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Question by:php-newbie
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tampnic earned 500 total points
ID: 37821418
You might get some headway with this by looking at using the native development kit (NDK). It still produces sandboxed .apk files but as its C++ you will have more chance or breaking out of the sandbox than with java.

I think a custom Android build would be the best solution. You can maybe write a new kernel module for the MDM functionality you want or modify the Android source yourself. Not having looked at the Android source I don't know if there are any ready-made hooks in place to allow you to do this easily.

Another way of getting to the functionality you want could be to write your own "Market" app which doesn't allow downloading the standard Market app,  remove the standard Market .apk from the device (might need rooting to do that, can't remember). Not too difficult to get the market app back onto the device for a knowledgeable user but it would prevent 99% of users probably.

Cheers,
   Chris
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