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What is reliable? I need reliable Android, to install "from zero", cleaning all the old firmware of the old smartphone.
... So, the first and main step is to download a reliable and complete set of firmware files: where the reliable domains if there are no "official source"? Where the reliable tools to help in the (ideally simple and plug-and-play) installation process? Where the reliable community (suppose here!) to help to select what is reliable?

COMMENTS


Rationale

As Wikipedia noticed as Mobile Malware,

As wireless phones and PDA networks have become more and more common and have grown in complexity, it has become increasingly difficult to ensure their safety and security against electronic attacks in the form of viruses or other malware.

And, in nowadays, the most commom and danger type of attack is against old-Android (with discontinuing support), malware that install itself in the Android operating system, so infects the so-called firmware.

The only two 100% reliable way to avoid after detected contamination is to pay for a new smartphone or to reinstall all firmware... The the only cheap option is to reinstall by yourself (supposing that to pay for reliable certificated service is the cost of the old smartphone).

The old or infected Android must be replaced by a new reliable Android operating system.... The so-called "firmware flash process".


There are no direict solution to the problem... So, the best that we can do is to votate.... This question is a voting pull about the main options:
...after a lot of research I discovered that there is no magic, no easy and super-reliable way to reinstall all firmware by myself, but there are two (or perhaps more) main options. Please post your answer as Wiki.

Illustrative example and scenario

Even for generic answers, to avoid long and abstract discussions we can use a typical smarthphone as reference. Suppose a Samsung Galaxy S-III GT I9300.

In this device, after hard reset, there are options for 1. reboot system, ..., 3. apply update from external storage, 4. wipe data/factory reset, ...

Suppose that I used the options 4 and 1, but the virus persist. Now I need to use option 3, but the main problem is "where the reliable Samsung S-III downloads"?, there are no official download in the official domains like samsung.com or android.com...

  • Firmware should be signed - therefore you should be to verify the authenticity of an image somehow. However I don't know much about Samsung firmware images as Samsung uses their proprietary firmware update system. – Robert Jan 24 at 19:17
  • Hi @Robert, thanks. About you named "signed", I am supposing that is a standard checksum... There are a simple and open "check procedure?". About "firmware image", supposing that it is the analog of the ISO image of a Linux distribution... – Peter Krauss Jan 24 at 19:30
  • No I am talking about a cryptographic signature. That signature is required for installing/booting the firmware unless you have unlocked the bootloader of your device. – Robert Jan 24 at 19:45
  • @Robert, thanks. Well, it is not trivial (!)... My conclusion is that I need the two things: 1. a reliable firmware-download; and, to the cryptographic signature, etc. an reliable "pre-boot installer" (the name seems TWRP), so reliable TWRP-download. – Peter Krauss Jan 26 at 14:43
  • TWRP is only for installing custom firmware images. I don't think it can be used for installing an original Samsung firmware image. If you are going for a custom ROM you can use a Lineage OS version. Original LineageOS builds are IMHO the most trustworthy custom ROM you can find. The only available build for your device is Android 7.1. Even if it is a nightly build LineageOS is usually pretty stable. – Robert 2 mins ago edit – Robert Jan 26 at 14:56
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Closed/commertial most cited

Hum... This is (seem after some research) the most cited mode, but all is "dark and closed", and commertial — even when seems free, with nothing to pay, you "pay" signing up and seeing a lot of advertising before to see some useful information.

  1. Find your device... E.g. sammobile.com/firmwares/galaxy-s-/GT-I9300
    (a page with some advertising)

  2. Donate some personal data to sammobile.com database, to create your login
    (a lot of more advertising)

  3. Download the "no-community open homologation" files... Perhaps you must to pay for download updated files.

  4. Download non-open (no-community open homologation) software to manage the process, Odin. Example (where the checksums? can I confirm checksums with community?)

  5. Run Odim using the files.

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Use a transparent source

Open-source is transparent, so it is reliable when there are a big community with many eyes inspecting. http://lineageos.org and Heimdall are the most (positivally) cited,

  1. Reliable download of an open firmware...
    E.g. from https://download.lineageos.org/i9300 (open sources at Git/android_device_samsung_i9300)
    resulting e.g. lineage-14.1-20190117-nightly-i9300-signed.zip

  2. Reliable download of an open TWRP...
    E.g. from https://dl.twrp.me/i9300/ (open sources at Git/android_bootable_recovery)

  3. Confirm sha256 of the firmware,
    E.g. by the Linux command sha256sum lineage-14.1-20190117-nightly-i9300-signed.zip and comparing with lineageFile.zip's sha256

  4. Reliable install of Heimdall.
    E.g. at reliable UBUNTU installation use sudo apt install heimdall-flash
    check version with the command heimdall version.
    PS: it is the last from gitlab.com/BenjaminDobell/Heimdall

  5. Follow the instructions to install firmware in your smartphone using Heimdall.
    E.g. https://wiki.lineageos.org/devices/i9300/install

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