The mobile Bitcoin wallet, the Samourai has announced that it has been forced to strip down many safety features of the wallet due to Google’s extremely restrictive rules and policy guidelines. The developer of the wallet said that they have applied for the exemption to new rules, but the technology giant rejected their applications. Announcing in this regard, the mobile wallet took to the Twitter and wrote that the upcoming version of their wallet dubbed “0.99.04” will not come with certain security features due to extremely stringent policies of the Google. The internet giant, according to them, is looking to offer a walled garden experience to its users and has decided against the safety features.
The three safety features which will not be available with the new version of the mobile wallet are stealth mode, sim switch defense, and remote SMS commands. Elaborating further, the wallet detailed that they have applied for an exemption and explained to Google that removing the safety features would affect the security of the transactions carried out by users, but still their application for the exemption was declined by Google. The wallet developers also claim that Google doesn’t care about the security benefits offered by the wallet and they would have been removed from the Google Play Store if they had not complied with the new regulations.
The three security features which have been part of the wallet since its inception in 2015 will not be available in wallet’s new version. These features are optional in nature and need to be turned on by the user as they are turned off in default settings. According to the developers, no other mobile wallet has offered these security features so far and thanks to the highhandedness of Google, it is now unlikely that any other mobile wallet will offer these features in future.
Stealth Mode, SIM Defense, and Remote SMS
The first safety feature – stealth mode – allows the users to hide their mobile wallet application from the attackers who may have access to their mobile phones physically. To enable this feature, the user has to provide access to the wallet app to make the outgoing calls without any detection.
SIM switch defense, the second safety feature alerts the user about the hijack of the SIM card by stealthily sending a message to the trusted mobile number. This feature automatically activates when the SIM card of the phone get changed.
The last safety features to which Google is objecting is the remote SMS commands which allow the users to erase their mobile wallet app remotely in case they lose their device. This feature helps prevent any further loss of the digital money stashed in the user’s wallet.
Striking an optimistic note, the Samourai developers said they hope to bring back all these safety features again on the wallet in the future on Google play store. Meanwhile, all these features will be available to users via alternative methods like F-Droid and direct download. Just so you know, F-Droid is an alternative marketplace for Android applications and as compared to Play Store, it has far few restrictions for the application developers. On the downside, the installation of F-Droid is quite complicated which makes it less popular than Google platform. The Samourai App developers have also advised its users to disable the stealth mode before upgrading to new version of the mobile wallet.