In 2014, Google launched Android 5.0 Lollipop and with this OS came a new feature that was aimed at curbing the rampant growth of smartphone theft.
At the time of its release, jurisdictions in the U.S. were putting pressure on Google, Apple and other companies that make operating systems to include a kill switch on smartphones so as to make it easy for users who lose their phones to make them unusable via a simple “switch.” Google promised to make this feature available in its next version of Android, which happened to be Lollipop.
When Google released Android 5.0 Lollipop, the tech giant also announced that this OS would be accompanied by a feature known as Factory Reset Protection. As opposed to what many expected with respect to a kill switch, this Factory Reset Protection feature was just here to prevent thieves from successfully carrying out a factory reset on a stolen phone.
With Factory Reset Protection, Google was simply trying to frustrate those who attempted to bypass the lock screen passcode or pattern via a simple factory reset. If one goes ahead with the factory reset, the feature would simply ask for the original owner’s Google credentials in order to access the phone again. This looked like a pretty nice move by Google, but Factory Reset Protection turned out to be a joke.
For more determined hackers, well, Factory Reset Protection is not too much of a hassle to bypass. We’ve seen plenty of ways of breaking into protected devices from Samsung, LG and even Google’s own Nexus lineup thanks to RootJunky, an Android developer and modder who shares lots of his videos on YouTube.
This same guy is back at it again and this time, he’s after all Motorola phones that are powered by Android 5.1 Lollipop and above, which includes the latest Android 7.0 Nougat. RootJunky’s tool is known as MotoReaper and with it, an exploit will be injected into a locked Motorola phone and in a few simple steps, you’ll be past the Factory Reset Protection feature. The process will have you connect this Moto phone to a PC.
When done, you’ll be able to access the locked device without providing the Google credentials of the phone’s original owner as required by Factory Reset Protection. This tool works on any Moto phone, whether it’s rooted or has its bootloader still intact. The MotoReaper tool is available for download via the source link below. Hopefully, Google steps up its game in the coming Android O in order to prevent such cases from happening.