Cyber Resistance

Information Security Blog

Take control of your own smartphone

Hello everybody,

In today’s world many people have a smartphone and use it for both work and private situations. Phones contain a vast array of personal information in the form of text-messages, e-mail, pictures, contacts login credentials of applications and websites etc.

Next to that one of the factors the smartphone is such a succes is because the user experiences and the ease of use of apps. We have no control over what applications do in the background for instance, we accept all the “warning” messages when we install a new app….why should the flash-light app of my phone have access to my phonebook for instance…..

It is time to take back to control we have over our own devices.

One of the drawbacks of for instance Google’s Android is the fact that you need a Google account to be able to use the for, for Apple you need an AppleID, it not that I am a fanboy of either Android or iOS. The good part about Android is the fact that is is open-source software, which can be tweaked by software developers.


One of the modifications that is popular to take back control of your Android device is the CyanogenMod. This modification lets you decide what you put on your smartphone, you could for instance make sure that your phone does not use certain datatypes, just like iOS. Example : An application like twitter would (out of the box) like to use your location information or read your contact information, you can disallow this application to do so. However sometimes this results in the application not workin anymore, but atleast you tried and then it is in your control to decide if you want to keep on continuing using this application or not. This functions as sort of a Privacy Guard.

But this is not everything the mod does, the developers claim to make the phone faster and use less energy as well.

How to migrate to CyanogenMod from your factory Android ?

Installing a new modication is not without any risk, if this is the first time you do some software modications to your phone it is vital to make a backup of all your data first. Next to that, check out the many tutorials you find online to get a understanding of about what you are about to do first.

Installation of the modification takes about two hours. Replacing the old Android is not without any risks, MAKE BACK-UPS!!! If you don’t know what you are doing you can turn your phone into a very expensive brick as well. If you start tweaking on the system-level or software, your warranty will expire.

Every Android phone has its on way to load a new modification, if you need more information check out the many forums of the Android community for detailed user manuals. If you have a relatively new phone it might be difficult to find the right stable version of CyanogenMod, the community calls this the “nightly” . In the “nightly” version of CyanogenMod are still software bugs. If you are patient and not a tweaker yourself you can wait of while before a new Mod for a new type of phone becomes more stable.


Above a screenshot of CyanogenMod on a Samsung Galaxy s3.

Conclusion for me.

For the very start I was enthusiastic, there where regular software updates that fixed bugs and after a while my phone appeared to be stable up to the point it functioned normal. That is why this mod is not for everybody, some good things take time and the development proces for this modification sometimes takes a while.

Right now I can honestly say that I have gotten control again of my smartphone. I also installed some pretty sweet applications like Privacy Guard but XPrivacy as well. This modification also allows me to make changes on the system level. Sometimes I remove an application and still see files and old advertisement on my phone, this is one of the reasons my phone got slow over time. Now I am able to delete these files and my phone stays fast and responsive.

I admire all the work people of the community put in this application to make it work. That is one of the reasons I dedicate this post to this fantastic modification.




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