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I understand that my Android phone is encrypted, however I never input any password to decrypt the phone. If the key is stored in some hardware component but is automatically retrieved every time my phone boots, how is it secured?

Edit: I do have to unlock my phone, but that's after it's booted. Doesn't seem logical.

My phone clearly states its encrypted:

settings

migrated from security.stackexchange.com Feb 18 '16 at 12:58

This question came from our site for information security professionals.

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    Perhaps it isn't secured and your phone isn't encrypted. – Neil Smithline Feb 18 '16 at 5:33
  • If your Android device is encrypted, when you turn it off and on again it will ask for your decryption password and your pin. If this is not the case, then your device is not encrypted. – mk444 Feb 18 '16 at 5:44
  • Note: by turn off, i mean, shutting it down completely – mk444 Feb 18 '16 at 6:01
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    Knowing what Android version you are using would be helpful. – cremefraiche Feb 18 '16 at 6:43
  • My assumption lies in the fact that when you bought your device it came loaded with Android Lollipop and has the capability for full disk encryption. In that case, see: "Because Android 5.0 devices are encrypted on first boot, there should be no password set; therefore we decrypt and mount /data." – Firelord Feb 18 '16 at 14:15
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The data is encrypted by default, but if you don't have a pin, or code to unlock your phone, then it's obviously not secure at all.

If you set a pin, password, or pattern lock etc. then you will need to provide this when the phone boots, to decrypt the drive.

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A PIN/Password/Pattern/Swipe at lock screen only unlocks for access, not decryption. You have to setup actual encryption on the device at boot level, before your lock screen policy.

Unlocking phone for use/access does NOT equal decryption.

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    I believe some newer phones have encryption enabled by default. You obviously need to set a lock to actually secure it though. – user1751825 Feb 18 '16 at 10:12
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According to the Android documentation it uses a default password of "default_password". This is obscured by a hash involving hardware encryption keys and a salt unique to your hardware signature.

As already mentioned, this isn't very good security so there's not much point. Without securing your phone with a strong password to rehash the key, it's easy to get into. What wouldn't be easy would be recovering your data if you had some sort of hardware damage. If you were able to externally mount it all you'd get is encrypted garbage; all this for what added security? So the FBI can't see videos of my kids graduation? This is a move to encourage you to back up your data into the manufactures cloud infrastructure... the least secure thing you can do.

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