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Untrusted External Storage File Access

Untrusted External Storage File Access


Files saved to the external storage prior to Android 4.1 are world-readable. Prior to Android 1, files saved to external storage are world-writable. From Android 1 to Android 4.3, only the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission is required for an app to write to any external storage file stored by any app. Starting with Android 4.4, groups and modes of files are created based on a directory structure, which allows an app permission to manage/read/write files within a directory structure based on its package name. Starting with Android 4.4, users (including apps as users) are isolated from primary external storage spaces of other apps controlled by the Android device.

Consequent to the lack of restrictions described above, files written to external storage can be modified or read by other apps installed on the device (for the Android versions which allow read/write) and by anyone with access to the files if stored on an off-device external storage device such as a PC (or if the in-device external storage media is removed and mounted elsewhere).


It is recommended to set proper permissions on file stored on the external storage and encrypt sensitive data that may need to be stored on the external storage.


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