For some time the term Knox has become an interest in the world of smartphones, or more specifically, on Samsung devices. This is a new security system included in the official update to Android 4.3 on Samsung devices. The controversy lies in that this security system prevents access to multiple applications when rooting your device and at the same time, prevents the flash counter being reset to 0, which is a particularly sensitive issue in terms of the consequences that might have for your guarantee. Today we’ll tell you exactly what Knox is and does, the possible benefits or harm that it could inflict on your Samsung device and finally, how to disable it.
What exactly is Knox?
In September of 2013, we saw Samsung launch their new security system called Knox during the official Unpacked 2 event right here in Berlin, Germany. Its purpose is to bring full protection for devices.
It was designed especially with the aim of promoting the so-called BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environment, which provides the tools necessary to eliminate the risks of confidential data leakage and combat espionage. Initially it was launched with the new Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition but the feature has now been incorporated into other Samsung devices with the update to Android 4.3, which hasn’t been a smooth roll-out to say the least.
Why is there controversy surrounding Knox?
As it stands, applications that run outside of the realm of Knox have limited access to stored data. And here comes the controversy: while most wouldn’t blink an eye at this information, this is not the case for developers like Chainfire, creator of popular apps like TriangleAway designed for resetting the flash counter to zero on your device, and SuperSU.
About a month ago, the developer posted an explanation on his Google+ profile of some of the new features in Knox about which many users aren’t very happy. Apparently Knox works with an eFUSE (autoconfiguration technology), used to keep track of occurrences during which a device has been altered. By doing so, this presents a possibility for Samsung to use Knox data in order to reject requests for user support during the warranty period as they would then deem the hardware to have been damaged by the user. That is, at least, how it was expressed by Chainfire.
Samsung had already incorporated a counter in the bootloader which keeps track of the one has made a modification to the OS. The problem is that, as I mentioned, applications that run outside of the Knox container have limited access to the stored data, and consequently, the apps developed by Chainfire are negatively affected.
How does it affect the system Knox?
In reality, and by law, no one can cancel a guarantee for having modified an Android OS. As it is free software, it’s completely legal to modify it. However, Samsung can refuse to repair your device if damage was caused to your device by an unofficial modification which has altered the factory state of the handset. Here’s where the app TriangleAway comes into play. If you experience errors during any unofficial modifications, you can always return your device to factory conditions by installing official firmware, resetting the flash counter to zero and eliminating root access. In this way you’ll erase any trace of modifications which would otherwise allow Samsung to use this argument to void your warranty.
In the meantime, several pages have already been filled out with collected signatures in the attempt to defeat and eliminate Knox. The most popular is the one created on the site portal_change.org, which is the self-proclaimed largest platform for requests in the world.
How to disable Knox ?
I can imagine that many root users have noticed that, after updating to Android 4.3, that the SuperSU application has been blocked which is indeed due to Knox protection (as you can see in the image below).
There are several methods to fix this problem which will then permit you to use applications such as SuperSU or RootChecker again. However you still cannot return the flash counter to 0 as long as the the bootloader incorporates the official Android 4.3 version and incorporates the so-called "set bit Warranty "or security system that prevents you from conducting a bootloader downgrade. This new Knox guarantee cannot be removed, as noted by Chainfire on their Google+ account, at least not for the model number I9505.
There are a few different ways to disable Knox. The Samsung support page provides the following explanation:
- Find the Knox app, launch it and tap on "Settings"
- Choose "Knox Settings"
- Select "Uninstall Knox"
- When uninstalling Knox, you are asked if you want to back up your Knox data, which is then saved during the uninstall process in your device’s Knox folder. To back up this data, select "Backup Now", and then OK.
Please note this important part! Personal data, such as photos, music files, contacts and calendar events are copied during uninstallation. However, email and application data is not.
- Enter your Knox password and hit "Continue".
- Choose "Next". Your data will be saved before the uninstallation process is complete.
- Select "OK" to uninstall Knox.
- Tap on the "Menu", then "My Files’’, "All" and finally,"Knox". There will be a zip file with all your personal content from Knox.
Please note that If you have installed an optional microSD card, select "All", then "Storage Device" and "Knox".
If the option provided by Samsung doesn’t leave you convinced, you can perform the following steps (which require root access):
- Install "Root Explorer" .
- Run "Root Explorer" and in the magnifying glass search function, write Knox.
- Select all files with the name Knox.
- Proceed then to remove them, and reboot your Samsung device.
If none of these methods work or you still aren’t satisfied, the XDA Developers forum provides a file to delete Knox via recovery:
- Perform a backup of all the data from your device.
- Flash the following file provided by XDA Developers: KNOX removerV2.1.zip. (Go to page: XDA-Developers).
- Delete all files labelled Knox.
This is all the information about Knox which we can provide at present. If you happen to find another method to remove Knox completely, please post it on AndroidPIT.
Is Knox something you are wanting to get rid of or do you appreciate the security it provides?