“Last year we introduced multiple privacy focused features, enhanced our protections against bad apps and developers, and improved SDK data safety,” the company wrote. “In addition, Google Play Protect continues to scan billions of installed apps each day across billions of devices to keep people safe from malware and unwanted software.” Malware has long been a problem on the Play Store. The most recently example, reported by the Wall Street Journal, was tied to a US defence contractor and impacted Muslim prayer apps with over 10 million downloads, among others.
Google has published a report detailing its efforts to reduce the amount of fraudulent apps in the Play Store. Google has produced a report on the security of the Play Store, which includes information on user risks, Google’s own enforcement, and more. In 2021, Google preemptively stopped 1.2 million apps from being uploaded for breaking its platform regulations, according to the headline statistic. Google also cancelled 500,000 dormant developer accounts and banned 190,000 developer accounts for criminal behaviour.
As a result of new platform protections and policies, developer collaboration and education, 98% of apps migrating to Android 11 or higher have reduced their access to sensitive APIs and user data,” the company says. Pixel users have also received special treatment from Google, including a new Security Hub that offers a centralized way to manage security on Android. Google is also introducing new machine learning models to help improve the detection of malware and ransomware on Pixel devices.
In comparison to Apple, Google has at times had a more lax approach to vetting application submissions, leaving users to rely more heavily on Android antivirus services. Over time, the company has become more aggressive at weeding out bad actors. In its blog post, Google details the progress it has been making in preventing developers from releasing apps that will harm users.
If you’re particularly concerned about cybersecurity, check out our list of the best secure smartphones. Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.