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Google Teams Up With Security Firms to Fight Bad Android Apps

Google this week announced a partnership with several security solutions providers, aimed at fighting bad applications in the Android ecosystem.

Google this week announced a partnership with several security solutions providers, aimed at fighting bad applications in the Android ecosystem.

Called App Defense Alliance, the effort represents a collaboration between Google, ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium, and its goal is to quickly find potentially harmful applications (PHAs), take necessary measures against them, and ensure that the Google Play Store is a safer place for all users.

With over 2.5 billion Android devices out there, the ecosystem attracts threat actors looking to abuse users’ trust for their benefit.

As part of the newly announced initiative, Google is integrating the Google Play Protect detection system with the partners’ scanning engines in an attempt to detect bad applications before they are published in the store.

“This will generate new app risk intelligence as apps are being queued to publish. Partners will analyze that dataset and act as another, vital set of eyes prior to an app going live on the Play Store,” Google says.

The effort will leverage not only Google Play Protect’s capabilities, but also the partners’ technologies to increase efficiency in identifying potentially harmful apps, Google says, adding that it hand-picked these partners.

App Defense Alliance partners can request the Google Play Protect (GPP) scanner service to analyze apps and the service returns the scan results directly to the partner. Through this direct collaboration, GPP too can send requests to partners’ scanner services and receive results from them.

This two-way collaboration, Google says, should result in new app risk intelligence being generated through the sharing of threat information and new samples immediately as they become available.

“Knowledge sharing and industry collaboration are important aspects in securing the world from attacks. We believe working together is the ultimate way we will get ahead of bad actors,” the Internet search giant says.

Related: Millions Download Adware-Carrying Apps From Google Play

Related: Google Scours the Internet for Dirty Android Apps

Related: Google Rolls-Out Play Protect Services for Android

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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