The Android USB Debugging mode is a set of software settings intended to help Android app developers. When this USB debugging mode is ON, we are having a control channel for the Android Software Development Kit (SDK).
Apart from the intended use by the developers, several works can be done with your Android phone with USB debugging mode. The Android Debug Bridge Utility opens up a command-line interface on our computer and gives us a way to execute code and scripts on the smartphone. We can root the device, or install custom firmware.
How do we activate this USB debugging mode? We go to Settings > Navigate to About Phone > Select Software information > Keep tapping on Build Number till developer mode is activated. Then, from Settings > Developer Options > we toggle the USB Debugging option ON. Turning off the feature will need a simple tap to make it off. A restart and rechecking will make sure that USB Debugging is not turned ON.
The Risks of Keeping the USB Debugging Enabled ON
When you connect an Android smartphone to a computer with its default USB mode, it always remains under control as you need to manually approve the action it wants to perform. On the other hand, when the USB debugging mode is ON, the total control of the connected device is of the connected PC. This simple explanation can make a child understand that malware or a trojan horse on the PC can easily work when the USB debugging mode is ON.
However, this is just one problem. The worst will start if a smartphone with USB debugging mode is ON get stolen. The stolen devices usually get in the hands of “helpful people” – identity theft is a big risk. Samsung does offer a way to remotely erase the content of a lost smartphone, but a person doing the job regularly is enough smart to take out the memory card, put it in flight mode.
Enabling USB debugging mode permits performing potentially dangerous actions which are not limited to:
- Installing/uninstalling apps
- Deletion of data from apps
- Changing which app permissions
Google’s Find My Device app is extremely helpful, but when the USB debugging mode is ON, the location can be manipulated.
Normally, we suggest the developers turn on the “Verify apps over USB”. This setting allows Google to inspect the apps installed over USB for questionable behavior.
It is great that you want to test and develop. Many of us never take our devices outside the home which are intended for various experiments. You better purchase a cheaper Android phone for various experiments.