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I'm learning about how cellphone rooting works. Every procedure I've seen this far asks you to install a series of files that you download from random websites. Is it possible to know for sure that the files you are downloading will only root your phone, and that they are not 'trojans' or other types of malware?


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Simple answer! Go to reputable sites where the developers are acknowledged such as XDA, Modaco and not from some un-trustworthy site. – t0mm13b Jan 31 '13 at 1:36
@t0mm13b So how do you know which sites are reputable? – Michael Hampton Mar 9 '13 at 5:14
@MichaelHampton Read from reliable sources such as Modaco, XDA, Reddit's /r/Android, and last but not least, here also! ;) – t0mm13b Mar 9 '13 at 23:04
Also, you could check the MD5/SHA1/etc. (if provided) if you trust the creator but the link might be iffy. – onik Jun 11 '13 at 10:50
Checking an MD5 is inadequate these days. It's not that hard to come up with a different file with the same MD5 has. SHA-1 is a little better but still relatively weak. – Dan Hulme Sep 13 '13 at 12:42

There are two possible counter possibilities:

First possibility: In case the rooting is done by scripts and certain binary tools you can check if the binary tools are standard tools, and e.g. included in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). In such a case you could compile the tool yourself or search the net for multiple sources. In the ned use the one from the most trustworthy.

Second possibility: Use a virtual machine for executing the rooting software. Using a virtual machine like VMware you can connect an USB device like an Android phone into the guest OS. Therefore rooting the device from within the guest OS is usually possible and does not affect the host OS.

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Rooting from inside a VM doesn't stop the toolkit installing malware on the Android device you're rooting. – Dan Hulme Sep 13 '13 at 12:43

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