When security features collide with company policies there is usually one side in the wrong. On January 7th, the Crypto Samourai Wallet was forced by Google to remove some security features from its latest update. Apparently Google Play found the new security features to be in conflict with the company’s policies.
According to the app’s Twitter account, the features called Stealth Mode, Remote SMS and SIM Switch Defense have all been disabled. Additionally, a separate post accused Google Play of becoming a “walled garden”. This is a reference for web services which resort to complete and total control.
Sad but true, @GooglePlay is forcing us to remove Stealth Mode, SMS Commands, and SIM Switch Defense features as they transition to becoming more of a "Walled Garden" – despite the fact these features have proven record of helping users transact safely. https://t.co/kLRQT9PWvh
— Samourai Wallet (@SamouraiWallet) January 8, 2019
The Samourai Wallet demands justice
The issue of lowered security was also addressed by Samourai Wallet:
“We already applied for an exemption with Google a few months ago. We got rejected a few days ago, despite all our arguments and warnings that removing the listed features would result in users relying on them to be less secured and even more exposed.”
Additionally, the company provided solid evidence to Google officials that the SIM Switch Defense feature is working perfectly. The evidence showed how the feature instantly alarmed users of SIM swap attacks. This allowed users using the SIM Switch Defense to act on time and prevent any damage.
Samourai stated that:
“We are extremely proud that such a small feature of ours can protect users from the OpSec of network carries which allow SIM Swap attacks to happen. Google shows little to no interest about this and we would have been instantly removed from the Google Play Store if we did not comply with their dictatorship.”
Many people took notice of the removal of the Samourai Stealth Mode feature. This raised a lot of alarms towards the new Google policies. According to the company, the feature might have allowed users to hide their crypto Samourai Wallet app from the home screen and launcher.
The Remote SMS Commands has also been forcefully removed from the wallet. This feature allows users who lost their device to remotely erase their Bitocin Wallet. This is done in the hopes of preventing a further loss to their Bitcoin stash. Essentially, Google has killed that option as well.
Samourai Wallet is already looking for alternatives and it will start distributing the crypto wallet app by self-hosting and by listing it on the F-Droid app store. The listed versions will have all the Google-forbidden features.
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