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Google Launches Security Services for Android

Google this week launched a set of security services designed to bring improved protection and visibility for Android users.

Google this week launched a set of security services designed to bring improved protection and visibility for Android users.

Dubbed Google Play Protect, the new product is built into all devices with Google Play and should provide “comprehensive security services for Android,” the Internet giant says. 

“Whether you’re checking email for work, playing Pokémon Go with your kids or watching your favorite movie, confidence in the security of your device and data is important,” Edward Cunningham, Product Manager, Android Security, notes.

“We know you want to be confident that your Android devices are safe and secure, which is why we are doubling down on our commitment to security,” he continues.

There are 2 billion active Android devices globally and Google performs more than 50 billion application scans every day to keep them safe.

With the help of machine learning, Google says it can discover new risks, identify potentially harmful apps, and either protect devices from them or remove them where they have been already installed.

Google is also rigorously analyzing all apps before publishing them on the Play Store, though it isn’t unheard of malicious programs that slip into the marketplace and infect users by the millions.

According to Cunningham, Play Protect can warn about bad apps downloaded from other sources as well. It is meant to keep an eye on all applications that perform nefarious operations on a device, in an attempt to keep users’ data safe.

One of the features included in Google Play Protect is Find My Device, which is meant to help users even when they lose their devices.

“With Find My Device you can locate, ring, lock and erase your Android devices—phones, tablets, and even watches. This feature is built in and enabled on all devices,” Cunningham notes.

Users interested in learning more on this application should head to android.com/find or simply check the Find My Device app.

The new features will be rolling out to Android devices over the coming weeks.

Numerous infected applications were found in Google Play this year, ranging from fake system updates to mobile games, utility programs, and fake versions of popular streaming apps. In June last year, malicious versions of Pokémon GO landed in the storefront.

Related: Google Play Apps Expose Tens of Millions to Adware: Sophos

Related: Millions Download “System Update” Android Spyware via Google Play

Related: Charger Android Ransomware Infects Apps on Google Play

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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