Google axed 700000 malicious Android apps in 2017

31 January, 2018, 10:50 | Author: Shannon Newton
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As far as raw numbers are concerned, Google took down 700,000 rouge apps in 2017, an increase of 70 percent over 2016's approximate 400,000. "Previous year we've more than halved the probability of a user installing a bad app, protecting people and their devices from harm's way, and making Google Play a more challenging place for those who seek to abuse the app ecosystem for their own gain".

Google claims that 99% of apps with abusive contents were identified and rejected before anyone could install them. These infected apps were downloaded up-to 7 million times before they were removed from circulation by Google.

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Any number of malicious apps sneaking through the cracks is nothing to be sniffed at, but at least Google is catching many more bad actors than it has in previous years. He also highlighted new detection models and approaches that can identify repeat offenders and abusive developer networks. Do you believe Google when it says that many apps are removed before they are able to be installed onto devices? The improved machine-learning models sift through massive amounts of incoming app submissions and flag them for potential violations.

A popular (but dubiously accurate) critique of the Play Store is that it has relied too heavily on automation to approve apps. In August a year ago, Google had to remove 300 apps from the Play Store, which hid the WireX botnet malware and used the devices they installed to generate a wide-scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on other web services, causing loss of revenue and data. Last year, Google removed over a quarter of a million of these bad apps. It added that it took down over 250,000 copycat apps (those trying to piggyback off the success of popular apps) and "tens of thousands" of apps violating policies against apps that feature hate speech, illegal acts and porn. "With the launch of Google Play Protect in 2017, we've reduced the rate of PHA installs by an order of magnitude compared to 2016". Google also detailed improvements to earlier identification and detection. In short, these apps are created to do actual harm.

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Google Play Protect took several security measures that were already present in Android and improved them.

Tell us in the comments what you think of all of this news.

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"We're thrilled to collaborate with Google and integrate managed Google Play with the threat intelligence from our mobile threat defense solution", said Domingo Guerra, president and co-founder of Appthority. We don't have the Google Assistant Go APK file with us yet, but we'll do our best to get it as soon as possible.

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