A dev recently discovered a browser built into the settings (for any google app that lets you edit settings). From there you can bypass parental controls or enterprise restrictions.

This is a pretty exciting “extra feature”, Google!

  • This is kinda funny. During a family vacation as a kid, I went down to the hotel business center to use a computer kiosk but it required payment. I was bored so I was clicking around on the locked screen’s hotel logo and got to their company about page, and a bit more link clicking eventually got me out of the company’s website and to a google search page. I browsed for free for what seemed like an hour and did it again the next day before we went home.

      • Boredom really is a valuable and underrated tool. Leaving reddit and cutting back on my social media time kind of reminded me of that fact.

        A day or two after dropping reddit, I spent the time I would’ve spent on reddit learning powershell and writing a script to automate a little bit of my job. Simply because I was so mind numbingly bored.

        Next I need to write one that will bump my mouse during that space of time I saved while I sit and twiddle my thumbs, lol.

        • Oh, yeah. Anyone who complains they don’t have any hobbies actually does have a hobby, because I’m quite sure they’re not spending that time staring blankly into space. It just happens to be something like TV or scrolling a lot, and if I don’t do that I get bored enough to read, draw, etc fairly quickly. Turns out I don’t draw like I used to as a kid because I’m not bored in class.

          My only current downfall is it’s REALLY hard for me to take a walk without music like I used to now that I have access to traveling entertainment for the first time. It’s healthier to be able to sit with yourself in boredom and distress because it forces you to process your thoughts, but it’s not fun and we don’t have to do the un-fun work thing now, and that’s probably damaging psychologically

          • For sure, when I was a teen my friend and I used to take walks “around the block” as a last resort when particularly bored, which where I lived was 3-4 miles of rural-suburban roads. I’d do them by myself too fairly frequently.

            Like you say, it’s a great way of putting your head in order. I would sometimes be in an uncomfortable/restless headspace when I started, but by the end of the walk I’d spent so much time thinking about almost everything in my life that I was far more calm and centered. It makes you realize how little time we give ourselves to really mull things over and explore thoughts in our day to day. The expenditure of physical energy really helps too.

            Walking a significant distance feels like it draws on some kind of ancient part of our human brain, like a totally different rythmn and mode of thought, which I love.

    • I have a memory of something similar at a travel tourism kiosk. Kiosk was locked to their webpage. Right clicked an image, chose “save as”, navigated to something with a folder, right clicked and chose “Open in New Window” (might be misrembering – older version of windows) to pop up Windows Explorer. Windows Explorer, at the time, embedded Internet Explorer 4 if you typed a URL in the address bar, so off the races I was.

      Life before smartphones, man.

      • The older versions of IE back in the Windows 9X era would essentially turn into Windows Explorer if you put a local file path into them. I remember using this exploit back in the day on our school computers that ran a locked down version of Windows where you couldn’t browse anything in Windows Explorer beyond your personal network folder. I found that by typing C:/ into the IE address bar it would turn IE into Windows Explorer mode and from there I had full access to the C drive and could even open up the folder tree sidebar thing and browse the local network, finding all sorts of folders that I wasn’t supposed to be able to access.

  • This isn’t a secret browser, it’s Android System Webview - the system browser apps use when they aren’t a browser.

    What they’ve found here is a route to google.com from a webview page accessed from within the settings.

    • 100% but I believe these are typically locked down to one domain, and in this case its not.

      At least thats how I understand it. So I guess the article is a little misleading in that sense, but the net effect is the same. You have carte blanche access to the web, via android system webview, thats acting as a de-facto out-of-band browser. So its misconfigured or not locked down, which means you can use it effectively as a “hidden” browser.

      • ASW isn’t locked down to any domains though, it’s just a basic browser, one that typically doesn’t let you type in a url to go to any other domains. It’s not locked down, you’re just limited in how you can navigate.

        What happened here is someone managed to navigate from one page to another page and then another, in order to ultimately get to google.com and search for whatever page they wanted. The initial web pages presented linked outside of what it maybe should have.

        Whether ASW should be under parental controls is another matter. Apparently it isn’t (at least not parental controls that affect only installed browser apps) but that could have valid functional reasons behind it.

  • Curious if someone in an abusive relationship could use this trick if their phone was being monitored. If the abuser was just monitoring them with the phone’s parental controls this would work but if there was an app probably not?

  • Lol, sort of confession time. I was writing an essay for a major exam once, and I tried using Word’s built-in search function just to see if it would work. It did, and nobody was the wiser.

    I didn’t actually cheat; I didn’t need to. But, I felt proud for figuring out a way I could have, haha.