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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobilesmartphonesinternetmobile securityGooglesocial networkingmobile applicationsconsumer electronicsInternet-based applications and servicesMobile OSesAndroid OS

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

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?