Barely two months go by without me penning yet another hopeless and damning article on some newly-discovered Android security vulnerabilities or, in most instances, some rogue app makers taking advantage of ignorant users. I have almost come to accept it as something standard. Something I have resigned myself to doing every now and then. However, according to Google, that latter bit of rogue app developers flooding the Google Play Store with apps that violate its clearly-spelt-out terms and conditions may not last long.
According to Google, it “took down” 100,000 “bad” app developers from the Play Store as part of its clean up exercise aimed at making the platform safe for everyone. According to the company, it also “made it more difficult for bad actors to create new accounts and attempt to publish yet another set of bad apps.”
Those rogue app developers were responsible for 700,000 applications dotting the Play Store that were found to be in violation of Google Play policies. Google took these down as well. While it’s normal for users to be concerned about their security on the Android platform, Google repeats a rather familiar line of thought: we all need not worry, they are totally incharge. In fact, according to them, 99% of the rogue apps that were expelled from the Play Store had action taken against them and their makers even before users could download and install them. Google touts advances in its tools for detection of malicious apps for the success in the long fight against malicious apps which can be harmful and costly if not detected and stopped on time.
Google cites impersonation, whereby app developers deliberately make their application to closely resemble another (more popular) to the point of ordinary users not being able to tell apart the real thing and the fake, as its biggest problem in 2017. Over 250,000 of the 700,000 apps kicked from the Play Store last year were apps that impersonated others. For shame!
Inappropriate content in apps, like, pornography, extreme violence and potentially harmful apps add up to the stress that Google’s in-house teams had to deal with last year to keep the platform safe.
Last year, Google made the move to be more open about what it usually does in the background as far as security concerns over content on Google Play goes: continuously scanning apps to detect malware. It did this by making Google Play Protect more visible to users, probably as a means of assuring them that there is no need to panic and be afraid. And to not part with their hard-earned money purchasing useless “antivirus for Android” apps.