How does Google backup encryption works?

While it offers great options, there is still a lot lacking here.

Backing your data is an incredibly easy task on Android. However, there are some issues that Google needs to take care of as soon as possible. Google offers its users a complete end-to-end encryption service. The company also uses the same service for data regarding its Android apps and your phone settings. Google has been working this way since the release of Android 9 Pie. Since this setting is on by default, you don’t have to do anything except check the box mentioning you want to use Google backup encryption. While it offers great options, there is still a lot lacking here.

What is end-to-end encryption?

Before delving into Google’s drawbacks with the service, let’s check out what end-to-end encryption means? This means that only the person creating the data and the one receiving the data can access the encrypted data. This is because it revolves around credentials which need to be supplied for access. The credentials could sometimes be passwords as well. You could even use an app to authorize the decryption of data. Other options include a secure lock screen. Regardless of the type of authorization, you can be sure that no company, server, or person can gain access. Since only the person(s) at either end has the decryption key, it is called end-to-end encryption.

Google backup encryption
Google backup encryption

With Google’s backup service, you will have to use a secure lock screen to unlock your phone. Once your phone is unlocked, you will be able to send and receive encrypted data. Most Android smartphones have a form of hardware that allows encryption and decrypt on the go. It is generally facilitated by using a generated token, usually combing data from your lock screen security and Google account password.

On Google hardware, it is known as the Titan Security Module, where both Pixel phones and servers hold the data. Once you authorize yourself, your data will be backed up. You can access it again via the Titan module. The key thing to note here is that neither Google nor the Titan module have any idea of the password to decrypt your data. Since only you do, your data is as safe as it can get.

How does it work with Android?

When you are setting up your new phone that runs on Android Pie or later, you will go through a data backup section. You can enable this without thinking twice since Google nor any other entity has access to it. Once you do, your preferences and associated application data is packaged up, encrypted with a backup key, and stored in a hidden area of your Google Drive account. One thing you may want to note is that new data can overwrite existing data.

Titan Security Module
Titan Security ModuleTitan Security Module

Since it is not compulsory for the developers to use Google’s Android Backup service, it could give us no end of trouble. If you reinstall the game, you will start where you left off and sometimes, you might have to start right from the beginning. If this becomes the norm with third-party developers and Google starts enforcing good practices, this could a great option indeed.

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With an experience of over 7 years in writing and translations, I combine my love of technology with writing. I love checking out new apps and smart electronics on the market, trying them out, and of course, writing about them!

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