Root [Verizon] I'd like to root, but...


I was burned by the MB3 update and successfully rolled back to MB1. I don't want the MF1 update since my S3 is working great right now. I've always wanted to root for various reasons but permanently disabling the MF1 OTA update is what finally may push me over the edge.

I've done a bit of reading and nearly all the info I could find was either a how-to guide or an article talking about the advantages of rooting. I'm interested in the drawbacks since this phone is my most critical personal device. The articles describing disadvantages that I did manage to find listed the more obvious ones - voiding the warranty, risk of bricking it. I'm not too concerned about either of those risks since my S3 is already over a year old and I don't plan on modifying much, if anything.

One of my main concerns is security. What exactly does the runtime environment look like on a rooted phone? Do apps and processes run as a non-privileged user (I assume that's what happens on an unrooted device) and superuser privs are granted as requested? Or do they always run as a superuser? In either case, is this something that I would need to be concerned about?

Hypocritically, I just uninstalled my anti-virus & security app after some careful consideration. I only load apps from Google Play, Amazon or the Humble Bundle. I check all permissions carefully before installing any app. After reading how apps are run in a privilege-controlled, sandboxed environment, I figured this would be sufficient security. Does rooting a phone throw all that out the window?

If rooting does end up being a fairly safe condition, I would likely proceed, disable the OTA check then start exploring some of the benefits of a rooted phone, notably better backups. If for whatever reason I decide that I don't want to live with a rooted phone, would it be possible to root it, permanently disable the OTA functionality, then unroot it?

It would be great if an app or systems developer could chime in. I'm an experienced UNIX administrator but not a programmer ( unless you count shell and Perl scripting as "programming" ;) ) so speaking in terms of systems/user administration would be a great way to explain things to me. Are there any other forums frequented by devs that I could visit to get some feedback to my questions?

Thanks for reading...!