On Jan 7, 2019, the developers of Samourai Wallet announced that upcoming versions would no longer have certain security and privacy features due to a new policy imposed by Google for all Android applications. These features were subsequently disabled in the 0.99.04 update released on Jan 9, one day prior to the deadline set by the search engine company. However, Samourai developers have also made the fully-featured application available for download for users that relied heavily on the now-removed features to keep their Bitcoin safe.
The app can be downloaded via the official Samourai Wallet GitHub repository — either in the form of source code or a ready-to-install Android application package (APK).
Once the package is downloaded on an Android device, the installation process is rather straightforward. However, it is important to cross-check the authenticity of the downloaded file. In the past, malicious actors have hacked cryptocurrency wallet websites to distribute infected versions of the app. Unsuspecting users that install the modified wallet software can have their entire cryptocurrency balance siphoned or held ransom.
In order to stay safe from such vulnerabilities, it is imperative that users cross check the APK’s SHA256 file hash against the one listed by Samourai’s developers. In fact, this precautionary step is recommended for any cryptocurrency wallet — especially those distributed via a website. The GitHub Releases section includes the APK download link as well as the SHA256 hash, which can be verified using another Android app such as ‘Hash Checker.’
While manually installing the Samourai Wallet application allows users to restore functionality currently missing on the Play Store version, the approach comes with caveats.
For one, users will no longer be able to receive security updates automatically. The task of handling automatic app updates is generally handled by a third-party marketplace such as Google’s Play Store, Apple’s App Store, and Samsung’s Galaxy Apps.
That said, according to Samourai Wallet’s developers, this caveat may only be temporary. In the original blog post discussing the change, the possibility of listing the application on alternative app stores was hinted. Given that the Samourai project is open-source and does not rely on proprietary elements, it can be added on the F-Droid catalog — which specializes in listing FOSS (free and open source) software for the Android platform.
For now, users looking to continue using Stealth Mode, Remote SMS control, or SIM Switch Defense features within Samourai Wallet will have to manually install the app themselves.
Would you be willing to manually install Samourai to restore the removed functionality? Let us know in the comments below!
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