Google amps up fight against malicious apps with enhanced Android security

A small number of people could see warnings with the new system, Google said

Google is boosting Android security safeguards to better detect potentially harmful apps throughout their life cycle.

The security enhancement, announced Thursday, is designed to continually check Android devices to detect vulnerabilities in apps that could be introduced at any time. Previously, malicious apps downloaded outside of Google Play could only be flagged at the time of installation.

Such apps, if not detected, could expose personal information, incur unwanted usage charges, or damage the Android device.

The enhancement is built on Android's app scanning system, which was rolled out two years ago to analyze apps for malware, spyware and Trojans.

"We're adding to that service layer, further fortifying your Android phone or tablet," the company said.

The update is available on devices running Android 2.3 or later, and began rolling out Thursday. Users do not have to take action to receive the update.

Because potentially harmful applications are rare, most people will not see any warnings or other indications that they have the additional layer of protection, Google said. The Verify Apps service has been used more than 4 billion times in the last year to check apps at the time of installation. In that time, only 0.18 percent of installations received a warning that the app was potentially harmful, Google said.

But, "we do expect a small number of people to see warnings as a result of this new capability," the company said. "Even though the risk is minuscule, we're committed to making sure that the best available security protections are available to all Android users," Google said.

Android has other safeguards built into its platform, such as application sandboxing, which is designed to reduce harmful apps' ability to damage devices.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesMobile OSessmartphonesmobile securitysocial networkinginternetmobilemobile applicationsAndroid OSGoogleconsumer electronicssecurity

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?