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I would like to setup my phone to be able to browse/use apps as anonymously as possible. I realize that will require Tor/VPNs, and I am working on getting that information elsewhere. Here I am focusing on the phone itself.

It will be a new Samsung Galaxy S8 on Verizon (I realize not many people will have hands on with this model yet, so just reference what you would do on the S7 if need be). I would like to anonymize and secure it as much as possible. For example, I know that Verizon and Google are shipping new phones with spyware and other tagging features. I am not very tech saavy (I cant code), but I am a fast learners.

I will be trying to avoid using Google products at all costs (No Play Store, GMail, etc) - except for Android system updates (I assume this is a necessity?). I am willing to do anything, except: Replace the OS - it has to be regular Android (Unless someone can show me an add-on/alternative that wont require constant maintenance/detailed knowledge of how a phone OS works), or compromise the basic software so that it become unstable or wont work with basic apps.

I assume rooting is a must - but I will need some direction as to how this can be done safely, and what I will then need to do to keep the phone updated and stable.

Specifically I am looking for:

  • How to remove all native spyware/malware/unnecessary apps (without accidentally deleting something critical).

  • Remove any features that could ID my device over the internet

  • What kind of software/app I need to set up to protect against future malicious software (some kind of anti-virus/malware scanner?).

  • How to most securely encrypt the phone and any data on it (so that if someone was able to get control of it, accessing it's contents without the pass key would be as difficult as possible).

  • Any general tips that might help with this.

Thank you.

  • The chances this device will be rootable (and thus modifiable) in the next 6 months is slim, a root method for the Verizon variant of the Galaxy S7 just became available in the last month and it has been out about a year. Android allows a VPN to be used natively on WiFi, but when on mobile data some information "slips" through regardless of what you do. You need root access to prevent Google and Verizon services from seeing any data. TBH, the chance of being truly anonymous on this specific Verizon variant device is near zero until aftermarket ROMs become available, if they ever do. – acejavelin Apr 20 '17 at 17:23
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Hi the best place you are probably best off looking is the XDA forums for advice on the routing part.

Also have a look at microG, a project that is attempting to replace google play services and make android truly open source. Heres a link to an article that covers MicroG

Geolocation would be difficult to anonomise I'm guessing due to triangulation techniques that could be used to track the device location through the mobile network.

Good antivirus and malware software is a must

Alternative app stores such as F-droid, XDA, ect would be a good option - remember that apps can contain trackers ect which can send your data to the developer. Maby try and find an app that shows these permissions?

Signal - good private messaging replacement

Remember, to be most secure you will need to update regularly and also rooting your phone can mean the latest security patches are not rolled out as fast, if at all.

Edit: I forgot to add that if you do add a custom ROM, makesure that you encript your device :)

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G955FXXU1AQCC Galaxy S8 Plus SM-G955F Firmware link : http://www.gizrom.com/g955fxxu1aqcc-galaxy-s8-plus-sm-g955f-firmware/

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