Google Play Protect Scans 100 Billion Android Apps Daily


Google Play Protect now scans over 100 billion applications on Android devices daily, according to new figures disclosed by Google this week.

Google Play Protect is the protection mechanism built into the Android operating system to help protect devices and data from malware and other threats. 

The threat protection solution was designed to keep users safe not only from malware downloaded through the official app store, but from threats disseminated through other sources as well. 

Over the course of 2019, Google Play Protect prevented 1.9 billion malware installs from non-Google Play sources, the Internet giant claims. 

Google continues to battle against malicious applications trying to work their way into Google Play, and last year managed to block 790,000 policy-violating app submissions before they were published in the application marketplace. 

Last month, Google said that it removed roughly 1,700 unique applications from its app store that were part of the “Bread” (also known as “Joker”) family of Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs).

This, of course, was not enough to keep malware out of Google Play completely. Over the past couple of months alone, security researchers identified in the store applications that either attempted to exploit a recent zero-day, or downloaded malware that would engage in various forms of ad fraud

Following a new policy introduced in 2018 to stop apps from unnecessarily accessing privacy-sensitive SMS and Call Log data, Google observed a 98% decrease in apps accessing such data. The remaining applications, Google says, require access to SMS and Call Log data to perform their core function.

Last year, Google enforced another policy, designed to better protect children and families, which resulted in tens of thousands of applications being either updated or removed from Google Play.

The Internet giant also claims that it improved its developer approval process throughout 2019 and also strengthened the collaboration with the security industry via the App Defense Alliance

“While we are proud of what we were able to achieve in partnership with our developer community, we know there is more work to be done. Adversarial bad actors will continue to devise new ways to evade our detection systems and put users in harm’s way for their own gains,” Google says. 

Related: Google Teams Up With Security Firms to Fight Bad Android Apps

Related: Google Removes Trove of Risky ‘Bread’ Apps From Play Store

Related: Malicious Optimizers Hosted on Google Play Amassed 470,000 Downloads

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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