Auto Blocker consists of three main features, according to the announcement. First, it stops apps from being sideloaded, or installed “from unauthorized sources”. It’s meant to specifically protect people against “social engineering attacks” where a scammer will try to convince you to install a malicious app. Samsung won’t be disabling sideloading on Galaxy smartphones altogether because it admits there are benefits to the practice. It gives users the ability to customize their device however they want and gives them greater control over its functionality – assuming they’re sideloading safely, of course.
To ensure that level of freedom, this particular feature will be turned off by default. You’ll have to go into the Galaxy phone’s Settings menu to activate it.
Next, Auto Blocker will be introducing security checks for apps to see if there is any “malicious activity” going on in your phone. However, it appears American users won't have this tool as the company states it is currently unavailable “on US carrier models.”
What everyone will be receiving is the opportunity to block commands coming from a USB cable. That may seem pretty random, but as Samsung explains, it offers protection in situations where other people may have “physical access to [your] device, like when charging a phone at an airport" or any other public place.
Everything we’ve covered so far is a part of the base kit, but there are a few Advanced options. Chief among them is the Message Guard upgrade.
Normally, Message Guard protects first-party apps from zero-click attacks which is where bad actors send messages infected with “malicious code” to targets. Moving forward, the tool will cover texts sent from Messenger, Telegram, KakaoTalk, and WhatsApp.
Users can also select to prevent software updates via USB cable, which would be extra security when plugging a phone into an unknown USB port. What's interesting is this wasn't mentioned in the text, but shows up in the announcement image. So it could be a hidden feature, which made us wonder: could there be more?
We reached out to the company asking if there are any extra features not listed and if US users will receive the app security check anytime soon. This story will be updated at a later time.
Auto Blocker is rolling out to all “Galaxy devices compatible with One UI 6”, including but not limited to the Galaxy S23 series, S22 series, Z Fold 5, and Z Flip 5. Be sure to keep an eye out for the patch when it arrives.
If you’re looking to upgrade, TechRadar’s list of the best Samsung phones has a ton of recommendations.
You might also like
Get daily insight, inspiration and deals in your inbox
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.