Google took down more than 700000 bad apps in 2017

01 February, 2018, 00:58 | Author: Larry Hoffman
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Google also says it has developed new detection techniques to weed out repeat offenders and identify "abusive developer networks at scale" to stop them from simply submitting another set of bad apps. Finding these bad apps is non-trivial as the malicious developers go the extra mile to make their app look as legitimate as possible.

For those who are unaware, there are some "Copycats" apps around that aim to deceive users by impersonating famous apps.

Google, on its Android Developers Blog, stated that impersonators or "copycats" are the most common viruses and create malicious effects in apps.

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Google announced a year ago in July that the company is using artificial intelligence to help identify malicious apps entering the Play Store. The number of apps that were taken down in 2017 was 70 percent more than the number of apps taken down in 2016.

PHAs or Potentially Harmful Applications are apps that conduct SMS fraud, act as trojans or even phish user information. Such investments lead the company to introduce Google Play Protect feature for Android past year, which has taken down the PHA rates by 50 per cent. Then there are the inappropriate apps that contain content not permitted in the Play Store - porn, gore, hate speech, and so on are all banned from Google's platform.

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Additionally, the launch of Google Play Protect, the embedded anti-malware feature within Google Play Services, is estimated to have prevented over half a million rogue apps from being installed, despite coming bottom in a comparison of mobile malware apps. Play Protect shows the apps that have been scanned and also the last time they were scanned. "There have been instances where apps walk a very fine line between complying with Google's advertising policy and spamming users with nag screens, browser redirects, and unsolicited pop-ups just for the sole objective of generating revenue for the developer". This one seems to be the last one to get entry in the Play Store.

Google acknowledged that a few bad apps and malicious developers "still manage to evade and trick our layers of defense".

Google notes that it removed problem apps faster than it had in past years. This is also the most widely used malware scanning app with install base on 2 billion.

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