So, I came across Avast Anti-theft a few days ago, they flaunt a feature of surviving a factory reset, how is this possible without having root access ?

I looked up a few threads and could not find a good explanation, can someone tell me how it might be able to do that ?

  • Yes, I meant factory reset and are you sure ? Although it seems logical that as factory reset wipes everything it will definitely get rid of the application. – kartikay101 Aug 4 '18 at 12:12
  • Here is the link to the article Avast Lost Phone Experiment – kartikay101 Aug 4 '18 at 12:15
  • I had seen that article earlier but a) won't believe unless it is from independent source not app manufacturer b) It is known that android doesn't have viruses ( malware , yes )but their app says anti -virus. Aside, it is not impossible - there are instances you can easily see from Google search where malware survives factory reset. Theory is that they acquire elevated privileges on an unrooted device and lodge themselves in /system partition which isn't affected by factory reset. If their claim is true, they would be probably adopting the same mechanism// – beeshyams Aug 4 '18 at 12:34
  • // which isn't difficult for them given that they are in this business. However, I am not aware of the mechanics and could be another question – beeshyams Aug 4 '18 at 12:36
  • @beeshyams I think it would make a good answer if you convert your comments into an answer. I would suggest you don't mention impossible without root but mention, as you did in the comments, the app would certainly (conceptually the only way) require elevated privileges to remount system partition in rw mode and copy itself in it. Whether the elevated privileges are root or system is not really our concern. – Firelord Aug 4 '18 at 16:53

Hello I have been the author of Theft Aware, the core technology that later become Avast Anti Theft (my company was acquired). Yes it was possible to survive a hard reset, on rooted devices. I even built a root installer that did the hard work for you. Unfortunately this was not a mainstream feature so after I left Avast they decided to remove it - so now its not there anymore. Hope that helps.

  • While I cannot verify your credentials, I searched for the problem and came across some forum posts which mentioned that the app had this feature for a while and it was listed only on rooted devices. – Firelord Aug 18 '19 at 15:29

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