Sony's MXTP Security Causing Issues For Unlocked Bootloaders

Device protection has become an increasing issue in recent times. As smartphones are vehicles for collection copious amounts of data, the damage which can occur when a device is lost, stolen or breached has become an extremely important issue. In fact, the issue is no longer just important for users but also for manufacturers and a result of this, companies are bringing about measures to try and emphasize that they are doing all they can to protect a user. Google has been doing this recently with the advances with Android Lollipop and more recently with Android M, while Samsung have been for some time working on their KNOX program for added security.

Well, more recently Sony embarked on their own measure to help protect their Lollipop-running devices. In Sony's case, the protective measure comes in the form of My Xperia Theft Protection (MXTP) and looks to add an additional level of security to those running an Xperia device. That said, since the rollout of the feature, the compatibility of MXTP has been quite limited with only the Xperia C4, Xperia M4 Aqua and the Xperia Z4 Tablet being compatible.

Well, following on from the initial announcement news, it now seems that there might be an issue when using MXTP and especially if you are planning on unlocking the bootloader. The MXPT feature is one which is activated by the user and when doing so, the feature locks the bootloader. Therefore, if your bootloader is already locked from the manufacturer, activating the feature, simply disables the ability to unlock the bootloader. However, the problem being reported is for devices that already have their bootloader unlocked. In these instances, when activating the MXTP feature, MXTP again looks to lock the bootloader permissions. However, in doing so, the reports are suggesting serious damages are occurring to the devices. Sometimes irreparable damage. Sony do seem to be aware of this issue and do note on their bootloader website that users should not activate the feature after unlocking the bootloader "as this might cause the device to malfunction". Therefore, until a fix is more widely known or available, it would be wise that if you plan to unlock your bootloader, to firstly make sure MXTP is disabled and secondly, make sure MXTP is not activated afterwards.

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John Anon

Editor-in-Chief
John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]