As we all know, Internet permission plays a crucial role in the functioning of Android apps. It allows apps to perform various tasks such as sending and receiving data, accessing the web, and more. However, having Internet permission also poses a threat to the privacy and security of user data. That's why we need to learn more about it.
In this article, we'll explore what Internet permission is, how to check if an Android app has it, and answer some frequently asked questions.
Internet permission on Android refers to an application's right to access the Internet and perform network operations. In simpler terms, it enables the app to do all those things it needs the Internet for.
You will usually see it on the App Permission list as "have full network access" or similar language that informs users about the app's capabilities with Internet permission.
While in the Android Manifest file, it is referred to as "android.permission.INTERNET." This is a technical term used by developers to declare an app's Internet permission.
As a normal user, you can use the following two simple methods to check it.
If there is no "have full network access" or similar language in the App Permission list, it means the app does not have Internet permission.
If you‘re a developer or someone with technical knowledge, there are more methods for you to check in the Android Manifest file.
Use a file explorer
You can use a file explorer app to navigate to the APK file of the app you want to inspect. Once you have found the APK file, you can extract it to view the AndroidManifest.xml file.
Use the Android Studio
If you have access to the source code of the app, you can open the project in Android Studio and view the AndroidManifest.xml file.
Use an online APK analyzer
There are various online APK analyzers that allow you to upload an APK file and view its contents, including the AndroidManifest.xml file. Some popular online APK analyzers include "APKPure" and "APK Analyzer".
Use a command-line tool
If you have access to a terminal or command prompt, you can use the "aapt" tool to inspect the contents of an APK file, including the AndroidManifest.xml file.
If there is no "android.permission.INTERNET" in the Android Manifest file, it means the app does not have Internet permission.
Android uses a permission-based system to manage access to system resources and APIs, including network access. An app must declare Internet permission in its manifest file to perform network operations.
As you can see in the Google Docs for Android Developers:
To perform network operations in your application, your manifest must include the following permissions:
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET" />
And at the same time, the app must also have "have full network access" or the like in its permission list.
The explanation of "have full network access" on Android phones.
The difference between the two lies in the level of visibility and control. When an app directly accesses the network, it can potentially send data secretly and the user may not be aware of it. In contrast, when an app sends data through other apps or browsers, the process is more transparent and visible to the user.
For example, the Zero Password Manager app cannot access the Internet, but it employs a mobile browser on the user's phone to load a web program and send encrypted data to the extension for auto-filling in desktop browsers. It's simple to view the source code of a web program, so anyone can audit the code to see whether it is safe. You can read more about it in this article: Extension Security Design
Is it possible that some bad guys use malicious codes to make the process of sending data through other apps or browsers invisible to users?
That could happen. Malicious actors can manipulate the apps and browsers to hide the transmission of data, making it difficult for users to detect. In these cases, users may be unaware that their device is sending data to the network and their personal information may be at risk. Therefore, it's important for users to be cautious about what apps they install and to regularly monitor their device's network activity to detect any suspicious behavior.
Android applications require "permissions" to do anything beyond the basics, and these permissions have to be declared in the application's "Manifest" file. There are two main types of permissions: "normal" and "dangerous, runtime."
"Normal" permissions, such as INTERNET and BLUETOOTH, only need to be specified by the programmer in the Manifest and are granted by the user implicitly during installation without the need for explicit user approval.
On the other hand, "dangerous, runtime" permissions, such as READ_CONTACTS, RECORD_AUDIO, and SEND_SMS, require direct confirmation from the user at a requester prompt.
So, it's crucial that the user sees the list of permissions beforehand, before installation, to determine whether they're comfortable granting Internet permission.
As we know, most apps require Internet permission to run their features. However, for some simple tools such as text editors, calculators, and some privacy tools like password managers, users may not want them to be networked for data security purposes.
In this case, I would recommend using the ones without Internet permission first. Because these developers have shown by their actions that they value the security of users' data. Action speaks louder than words, right? And I think you will feel more comfortable using them.
The second option is to try to block network access for the apps manually, here I will share 2 ways.
Turn off "Data usage" in phone Settings
Note that if an app requires Internet access to function properly, blocking its network access may cause it to malfunction or not work at all. So, use this feature with caution and only block network access for apps you know won't cause problems when offline.
Use a third-party firewall app
Using a third-party firewall app gives you more control over the network access of individual apps on your device, and can be a useful tool for managing your data usage and protecting your privacy. However, like any app, make sure to only download and use a trusted and reputable firewall app from a reliable source.
In summary, understanding Internet permission on Android is crucial for users to control network access and ensure a secure mobile experience. It's essential to know how to check whether an app has the permission and what it means to be granted access to the network. By doing so, users can make informed decisions about which apps they allow to access the network and protect their privacy from potential threats. If you have any questions about the topic, feel free to let us know!
Tags: Internet Permission Android, Network Access Control, App Permissions, Privacy, Security.