Google Play Store Malicious App Detection Up By Over 50%

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In Google’s mid-year review which was announced on Wednesday, they said that Google Play Store app rejections went up 55% last year. This was after the OS maker tightened up the review process for its apps. They also stated that app suspensions also increased by more than 66%.

Identifying Bad Apps

According to Google, this increase is due to its continued investment in “automated protections and human review processes that play critical roles in identifying and enforcing on bad apps.”

The search giant has cited its Google Play Protect service as having a significant role in identifying malware. This service is included by default with the official Play Store app.

The Google Play Protect service now scans 50 million apps per day, and even downloads and scans every Android app it finds on the internet.

Google’s Fight Against Malware

Tackling malware is something Google has always struggled with. At times, this has been a losing battle, such as in 2017 when the Google Play Store was plagued by malware droppers and banking trojans. In 2018, the Play Store was again targeted with adware-laced apps that infected millions of users.

Andrew Ahn, Product Manager for Google Play, says the company has been learning from all those incidents in the past. He said the Play Store’s automated systems are now getting better at detecting threats.

He explains:

“We find that over 80% of severe policy violations are conducted by repeat offenders and abusive developer networks,” Ahn said. “When malicious developers are banned, they often create new accounts or buy developer accounts on the black market in order to come back to Google Play”

Ahn says the Play Store team has now improved its clustering and account matching technologies and is now detecting repeat offender accounts much faster. Sometimes these malicious apps are blocked before they are approved to be listed on the Play Store.

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