Google knows malware and bad apps are a huge problem for Android. That’s why the firm introduced a number of measures to help fight against them last year.
Back in August of 2019 the American tech giant introduced new Families policies for the Play Store to help parents better protect their children from unsuitable content and adverts. But by far the most significant move to help eradicate harmful materials from the Play Store came with Google’s announcement of the App Defense Alliance – a partnership with it and three mobile security companies called ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium.
Google recently discussed how it fought against bad apps and malicious developers in 2019. In a post on the Android Developers Blog, the tech firm declared it stopped over 790,000 policy-violating app submissions before they were ever published to the Play Store and highlighted the new initiatives it undertook to help do so.
The California company said: “In 2019, we continued to strengthen our policies (especially to better protect kids and families), continued to improve our developer approval process, initiated a deeper collaboration with security industry partners through the App Defense Alliance, enhanced our machine learning detection systems analysing an app’s code, metadata, and user engagement signals for any suspicious content or behaviours, as well as scaling the number and the depth of manual reviews. The combination of these efforts have resulted in a much cleaner Play Store.
“One of the best ways to protect users from bad apps is to keep those apps out of the Play Store in the first place. Our improved vetting mechanisms stopped over 790,000 policy-violating app submissions before they were ever published to the Play Store.”
Additionally, Google also noted it saw a 98 percent decrease in the number of apps that are able to access sensitive data, like a user’s SMS and Call Log thanks to a new policy it introduced back in 2018.
The firm went on: “Google Play released a new policy in 2018 to stop apps from unnecessarily accessing privacy-sensitive SMS and Call Log data. We saw a significant, 98 percent decrease in apps accessing SMS and Call Log data as developers partnered with us to update their apps and protect users. The remaining two percent are comprised of apps that require SMS and Call Log data to perform their core function.
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Google recently discussed how it fought against bad apps and malicious developers in 2019
Google knows malware and bad apps are a huge problem for Android
“Similarly to our SMS and Call Log policy, we also enacted a policy to better protect families in May 2019. After putting this in place, we worked with developers to update or remove tens of thousands of apps, making the Play Store a safer place for everyone.”
Despite the substantial progress made by Google last year in beefing up its Play Store security, the platform continues to be plagued by malicious apps on a weekly basis.
It was only days ago Express.co.uk reported on a legion of apps that slipped through Google’s Play Store defences with malware ready to infect user devices. According to the team at VPNpro, the programmes in question were also seeking dangerous permissions, too.
While those apps have since been removed from the Play Store, users are advised to uninstall them from their devices if they obtained them during their period of availability.
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The apps were named as: Sound Recorder • Super Cleaner • Virus Cleaner 2019 • File Manager • Joy Launcher • Turbo Browser • Weather Forecast • Candy Selfie Camera • Hi VPN, Free VPN • Candy Gallery • Calendar Lite • Super Battery • Hi Security 2019 • Net Master • Puzzle Box • Private Browser • Hi VPN Pro • World Zoo • Word Crossy! • Soccer Pinball • Dig it • Laser Break • Music Roam • Word Crush
A few days prior, Trend Micro reported on a bunch of other Android apps claiming to rid your device of bloatware and improve performance that were instead installing malware on user devices. In total, these programmes amassed over 450,000 downloads during their time on the Play Store.
The apps in question were named to be: Shoot Clean-Junk Cleaner • Super Clean Lite • Super Clean-Phone Booster • Quick Games • Rocket Cleaner • Rocket Cleaner Lite • Speed Clean • LinkWorldVPN • H5 gamebox
Topping things off, research by Upstream claims Android is the “most vulnerable” mobile operating system around because of its open-source framework. In fact, the security firm went so far as to say Android is “a favourite playground for fraudsters”.
So, it seem that whilst Google is taking this matter seriously, it still has a long way to go until the Play Store is completely free from malicious app.
Of course, Express.co.uk will keep you up to date with all the latest Android news. So stay tuned for future updates!