Google is beefing up its Android app security

Internet security, hackers, privacy, secure network
Credit: AFP

Android apps are already scanned for malware as they’re being downloaded for the first time. However, the new, improved Verify Apps system will ensure that the apps are now also routinely checked once they’re up and running on consumers’ handsets.

Google says that the improvements will not just verify an app prior to install, but will warn or block potentially harmful apps and, most importantly, will work as a feature on devices running Android 2.3 onwards, essentially protecting roughly 90 percent of the world’s Android smartphone and tablet owners.

In recent weeks, Google’s app submission and validating process has been under scrutiny. On March 25, Trend Micro Labs reported that it had found legitimate apps available for download on Google Play, and which had been downloaded over 1 million times, that once installed were mining cryptocurrency.

Meanwhile earlier this week, Android Police uncovered a popular premium antivirus app — Virus Shield — as nothing more than a scam. Once installed, it did nothing.

In a blog post announcing the improvements to Verify Apps, Android Security Engineer Rich Cannings made no mention of recent issues and instead highlighted how unlikely it is that the average Android smartphone user will ever fall victim to a bad app: “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. 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% of installs in the last year occurred after someone received a warning that the app was potentially harmful.”

As for Virus Shield, which was pulled from the Google Play store on Monday, its developer, Jesse Carter, told The Guardian on Thursday that the whole thing was a big misunderstanding. A placeholder had been accidentally uploaded to Google Play rather than the finished app.

“After reading the article created by AndroidPolice, we immediately unpublished our app from the marketplace to upload the intended version. However, our Google Play Developer account was suspended before we could make said amendments. We have not withdrawn any earnings received from Virus Shield and intend to refund all purchases. We may possibly upload the intended version of the app for free to everyone,” he said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.