Security Enhancements in Android 5.0

Every Android release includes dozens of security enhancements to protect users. Here are some of the major security enhancements available in Android 5.0:

  • Encrypted by default. On devices that ship with L out-of-the-box, full disk encryption is enabled by default to improve protection of data on lost or stolen devices. Devices that update to L can be encrypted in Settings > Security.
  • Improved full disk encryption. The user password is protected against brute-force attacks using scrypt and, where available, the key is bound to the hardware keystore to prevent off-device attacks. As always, the Android screen lock secret and the device encryption key are not sent off the device or exposed to any application.
  • Android sandbox reinforced with SELinux. Android now requires SELinux in enforcing mode for all domains. SELinux is a mandatory access control (MAC) system in the Linux kernel used to augment the existing discretionary access control (DAC) security model. This new layer provides additional protection against potential security vulnerabilities.
  • Smart Lock. Android now includes trustlets that provide more flexibility for unlocking devices. For example, trustlets can allow devices to be unlocked automatically when close to another trusted device (via NFC, Bluetooth) or being used by someone with a trusted face.
  • Multi user, restricted profile, and guest modes for phones & tablets. Android now provides for multiple users on phones and includes a guest mode that can be used to provide easy temporary access to your device without granting access to your data and apps.
  • Updates to WebView without OTA. WebView can now be updated independent of the framework and without a system OTA. This will allow for faster response to potential security issues in WebView.
  • Updated cryptography for HTTPS and TLS/SSL. TLSv1.2 and TLSv1.1 is now enabled, Forward Secrecy is now preferred, AES-GCM is now enabled, and weak cipher suites (MD5, 3DES, and export cipher suites) are now disabled. See for more details.
  • non-PIE linker support removed. Android now requires all dynamically linked executables to support PIE (position-independent executables). This enhances Android’s address space layout randomization (ASLR) implementation.
  • FORTIFY_SOURCE improvements. The following libc functions now implement FORTIFY_SOURCE protections: stpcpy(), stpncpy(), read(), recvfrom(), FD_CLR(), FD_SET(), and FD_ISSET(). This provides protection against memory-corruption vulnerabilities involving those functions.
  • Security Fixes. Android 5.0 also includes fixes for Android-specific vulnerabilities. Information about these vulnerabilities has been provided to Open Handset Alliance members, and fixes are available in Android Open Source Project. To improve security, some devices with earlier versions of Android may also include these fixes.