Android malware is a growing issue which Google has been tackling with all the seriousness it deserves, as the company highlights the numerous ways it has stayed ahead of bad actors in the Play Store over the past 12 months.
Google's effort to make the Play Store a more trusted and safer place receives a boost as about 99 per cent of apps “with abusive contents” were tossed from the Play Store, thus making it a more challenging place for those who seek to abuse the app ecosystem for their own selfish gain.
According to Google, there's a new detection models and techniques that can identify repeat offenders and abusive developer networks at scale. It uses AI-powered engine to help “detect abusive app content and behaviors — such as impersonation, inappropriate content, or malware” which then human reviewers are able to detect problematic apps.
This resulted in the successful taking down of over 100,000 bad developers in 2017, and also making it more difficult for bad actors to create new accounts and attempt to publish yet another set of bad apps.
Some samples of bad apps highlighted includes: Copycats, Inappropriate Contents and Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs).
The copycats are generally apps that attempt to deceive users by impersonating famous apps, and as famous titles get tons of search traffic for particular keywords, so the bad actors try to amass installs leveraging such traffic. And inappropriate content apps are those that contain or promote content, such as pornography, extreme violence, hate, and illegal activities.
While Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs) are malware that can steal people's data or harm their devices, for instance apps that conduct SMS fraud, act as trojans, or phishing user's information.
Google promises to continue its fight and to innovate in its capabilities to better detect and protect users against abusive apps and the malicious actors behind them, with the goal of making Google Play a safe app store.