Google is enhancing security for Android users to make sure installed apps are running safely and not performing malicious actions.
“Building on Verify apps, which already protects people when they’re installing apps outside of Google Play at the time of installation, we’re rolling out a new enhancement which will now continually check devices to make sure that all apps are behaving in a safe manner, even after installation,” blogged Rich Cannings, Android Security Engineer at Google. “In the last year, the foundation of this service—Verify apps—has been used more than 4 billion times to check apps at the time of install. This enhancement will take that protection even further, using Android’s powerful app scanning system developed by the Android security and Safe Browsing teams.”
According to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report, 3,262 variants of Android malware were detected in 2013, a decline of 14 percent from 2012. Still, the report noted that attackers often attempt to get users to download trojanized versions of applications.
Calling the malware risk to Android “miniscule,” Cannings blogged that the company is committed to making sure the best security protections are available to Android users.
“Because potentially harmful applications are very rare, most people will never see a warning or any other indication that they have this additional layer of protection,” he blogged. “But we do expect a small number of people to see warnings (which look similar to the existing Verify apps warnings) as a result of this new capability. The good news is that very few people have ever encountered this; in fact, we’ve found that fewer than 0.18 percent of installs in the last year occurred after someone received a warning that the app was potentially harmful.”