Android security: Google prevents almost 2 billion malware installs from non-Play Store sources

Even though Google has tightened its policy to safeguard Play Store and Android users, scammers are able to push their malicious apps to the app downloading platform

In the past few years, several reports and alerts appeared to inform Android users, who are unwillingly installing malware-infested apps from Play Store and other market places. While the Android users questioned Google about the safety issues, as they found themselves in a vulnerable situation, the tech giant who runs the Play Store, said that they have been taking steps to safeguard the app distribution platform from all kinds of malware and frauds.

The company recently revealed that it has successfully prevented over 1.9 billion malware installs from non-Google Play sources in 2019 and kept over 790,000 policy-violating apps away from the Play Store.

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Android phone Ahmad Khodad/Wikimedia Commons

Fight to stop malware apps

The American multinational technology company's App Defence Alliance initiative is the one which deserves the credit. In terms of this initiative, Google is in a collaboration with three security companies- ESET, Zimperium and Lookout for Play Protect- which is the company's built-in malware protection for Android devices.

As per Google blog post, the company said that its 2018 policy to prevent apps from accessing call log data and SMS has led to 98 percent of app developers removing those permission requirements from their applications. But this policy caused issues with several apps that required SMS access for basic functionality.

It should be noted that the tech giant does allow developers to fill out a form if they want to be excluded from this policy but as of now only a few apps have been able to get through and Tasker is one of them.

google play store
Google Reuters

Making Google Play safer

In terms of making the Play Store safer for kids, Google's 2019 policy helped to identify thousands of apps that were either updated by the developers to meet policy standards or removed from the app store. Even though the data showed that the company is showing improvement in terms of making the Play Store a safe and reliable place for Android users and developers, there is so much work left.

It should be mentioned that the tech giant is making efforts to improve the state of the Play Store and is taking feedback from developers. But as per the reports, in the current condition, many app developers are facing problems with Google's algorithms that randomly block or remove previously trusted apps and the worse thing is that even though Google is keeping a strict eye on the apps that hit the Play Store, threat actors are able to push their malicious apps to the app downloading platform.

Here is the list of those malicious apps which security researchers have found in January this year.

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Related topics : Cybersecurity