Deviant's Android Stuff


I've liked the Android platform for as long as it's been available. After experimenting with the original G1 Google Phone, I purchased an HTC G2 (a.k.a. "MyTouch 3G") and never looked back. I have owned ruggedized models by Motorola (the Defy series), tablets (mostly from HTC), lots of Samsung devices (I really like the Galaxy series, with the S-III as my primary and backup phones lately), and am the proud owner of a NinjaTel phone from DEFCON 19.

Also... every single Android device I have ever owned was rooted almost as soon as I unboxed it, and it has been my practice to run customized ROM packages (almost always CyanogenMod) on my phones and tablets. I'm a strong proponent of the mantra "if you can't tinker with it, you don't really own it" and of the right to repair/hack/tweak/etc anything that you've purchased. I have zero respect for the DMCA, for locked devices, or for carriers' and manufacturers' delusion that they can dictate in any way how their products get used by the public.

Starting at ShmooCon in 2010 i began conducting small hands-on workshops and lessons to anyone who cared to listen... teaching about how hacking and modding Android devices was quite possible. In 2013 i began developing a full training program with classes for my company, The CORE Group, to offer in the professional market.

This page is a repository of the various talks, tools, and tips that my Android work has involved.



Talks & Videos

Welcome To NinjaTel... Press '2' to Activate Your Phone Now

DerbyCon 2

This was a talk with Roamer and I where we discussed and demonstrated on stage the basics of rooting and modding Android devices, with the example of the Ninja Networks NinjaTel phones from DEFCON 19 used in the live demos.


Android Phones Can Do That?!? Custom Tweaking for Power Security Users


Did you know that it is possible to selectively restrict permissions on an app-specific basis? How about the possibility of faking data that gets returned when an app attempts to interact with GPS? Spoofing your IMEI, IMSI, and SIM card data? That's possible, too. This talk is for serious power users with a strong need for well beyond the average level of mobile security. It demonstrated a variety of tools and tweaks, particularly useful if you routinely travel to hostile areas of the world or are subject to device confiscation.


Restoring on a Brand New Device


Just how quickly could you be back up and running if you break your mobile device? If you've done proper and regular backups of your device using a custom recovery you can have your whole phone experience back again in less time than it takes to get a pizza delivered. This video essentially shows the whole process from start to finish.



Apps & Tools

Critical Utilities

Root Explorer Perhaps the best file manager app in the Android universe. This is always the very first thing I side-load, in order to be able to manage a new system adequately.
AdAway If you aren't running ad blockers, what the hell are you doing?
Ad Free For Anrdroid If you aren't running ad blockers, what the hell are you doing?
XPosed Installer I no longer run PDroid but I do rely heavily on the XPosed Framework
XPosed Additions This is one critical tool I like from the XPosed Installer
Boot Manager Another great XPosed tool... control what apps may or may not start when you device does
Authenticator 2FA is the way roll
OpenVPN A very decent OpenVPN client. Works very well with importable .ovpn files.
OpenKeychain A PGP tool for Android. It integrates well with K-9 Mail
KeePassDroid A standard utility to open and copy from KeePass files
Antivirus It's debatable what these tools really detect, but I run BitDefender's antivirus on most devices

Data Transfer & Management

Ghost Commander A Midnight Commander style file explorer and transfer tool. Plugins support SAMBA access to Windows SMB shares, FTP, sFTP, etc.
Barcode Scanner The best Barcode Scanner for Android. Also allows easy sharing of contacts via QRCode
Rescan Media If you copy/move/restore/etc files, often the Gallery app can't see old images. This utility will rebuild indicies and thumbnails.


Signal The most-used communication app on my devices.
K-9 Mail The best IMAP client for Android.
Google Voice Oh, Grand Central... how you've changed.
Fenix (ver 2) This is the Twitter client I use now. Great for managing multiple accounts.
Slack I'm in a lot of Slacks. This gets used a lot on my devices.
Hangouts Once in a blue moon I'll need to hop on a Hangout call
Translate Everyone the world over has a voice and something to say. This can help with that, of course.

Location & Navigation

Google Maps Standard Maps app
GPS Status Toolbox designed to show how GPS lock is progressing and give details regarding signal data, speed, altitude, heading, etc.
Faster GPS Set your global region, so as to hopefully get a GPS lock sooner.
Lyft Because Uber is a garbage fire of a company.

General Utility

Firefox I like this more than the stock browers and just generally prefer using it.
Open In Browser A seriously useful tool, allowing for the opening of local files in one's Android browser. Very useful if you have notes, data sheets, or other files you would like to open in your browser via a shortcut.
Weatherbug The free version is decent. The Elite version is terrific.
ConnectBot The best SSH client for Android
Pea Finder Bonjour / mDNS / ZeroConf responder... useful if you use ESPkeys and the like.
CatLog A straightforward viewer for Android's Cat Log file. Nice highlighting and filters.
Smart Time Sync While it can be useful to have a tool like this for correcting and adjusting your phone's clock, the real benefit is that this is one of the few apps that will show you system time down to the second.
ROT-13 Utility Enjoy crypto puzzles? Like sending badly-encrypted messages? An app like this will help you out.
Goggles For translating printed text, along with some other nifty features.


Calendar Pad Far better than the stock calendar.
Documents to Go Open .doc .xls .ppt .pdf and many other files. The pro version allows edits to some degree, even.
QuickText Editor It shocks me that Android still doesn't come stock with a decent text editor tool
Vivino This could be "general utility" but since I have a lot of wine when writing, this tool is categorize here.

Music & Content

YouTube Many mods don't come with YouTube. Grab this, especially if you throw content to a ChromeCast.
VLC No-brainer choice... best multimedia player for many platforms, including Android.
Dogg Catcher A great podcast downloading and managing tool.
Music Folder Player If you're the type who like to manage your own music content, this is a really useful player app. Browse by directory tree, play by folder.
uTorrent Yes, you can download content via torrent files right on your phone.


Desert Golfing This is my favorite relaxing, mind-silencing game.
NES.emu Play old NES roms. Oh yeah. =)
Snes9x EX+ Play old SNES roms. Right on. For this and for the app above, consider getting an iCade 8bitty controller.
Shortyz An outstanding free crossword game. Downloads puzzles from many current sources.
Sudoku The Genina company makes the best sudoku game, in my view.
Contre Jour I can't adequately describe this game. It's utterly georgeous and the music and scenery is more art than videogame. No shooting, no killing, no attacks... just interesting physics and puzzle-solving. A nice change.