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February 9, 2014

NoRoot Firewall – Android app that blocks apps from phoning home without your permission

NR_permisionsWe all know that in the past, the only way to install a firewall on an Android phone was to “root” the device. This meant granting yourself root permissions. Most Android users for whatever reason haven’t “rooted” their device and most don’t intend to.

The good news it that, Grey Shirts’ NoRoot Firewall works without requiring that you root your Android phone, as the name implies.

NoRoot Firewall   Android Apps on Google Play

The free NoRoot Firewall prevents nearly all connections to and from your Android phone until you expressly allow the app to access your Wi-Fi or cell network.
The program lets you grant or block access to your phone’s apps one at a time. The developer claims you don’t have to disclose your location or phone number to use the firewall.

The first time you open the app you’re prompted to enable the virtual private network connection. You’re warned that you’re granting the program permission to intercept all network traffic, so you should do so only if you trust the program.

Once the firewall is active, apps attempting to access the network are listed on the Pending Access tab. Press either Allow or Deny for each app.

Many system components are granted access by default and are shown on the Apps tab. Check boxes next to each entry let you allow or block the program’s access to your wireless network and/or your cell network. Press an entry to show more information about the app, including the date and time, IP address, and domain name.

NoRoot Firewall’s filters let you grant or block access based on IP address, hostname, or domain name; I didn’t test this feature. I used the firewall to block all apps on the Android phone and then grant access one at a time. I also granted and then revoked access to two e-mail apps and a news site. In my limited testing, the program worked without a hitch.

It doesn’t take long for the pending access requests to pile up, I was getting four or five at a time but, it doesn’t long to work through the lists to grant or deny access to the apps.

Whether Android phones need a firewall is an open question. After a couple of days of using NoRoot Firewall, it appears that having one doesn’t cause any problems, once you’ve convinced yourself that you can trust the developer with access to all the data being transferred to and from your device.

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Dave Thornton

Senior Editor

Senior Editor
Been involved in technology for many years, more than I care to remember. Live in Dundee, Scotland. I like Android, Windows Phone OS, BlackBerry OS and iOS, and love writing about all things techie. Currently have a Honor 6+, Elephone P6000, Nexus 5, Chrombook C720, HTC One M7, Nokia Lumina 625, Microsoft Lumia 435, Blackberry Q10, HTC Hero and iPad mini