Google is working on improving the security of the Play Store to keep apps loaded with malware off of Android phones. Despite the scanning done by Google Play Protect before app installation, a recent report from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky revealed that Android phones had 600 million installations of apps containing malware this year.
The issue arises when a user, like Andy, sees an ad for an appealing app on the Google Play Store and decides to install it. Later, the developer updates the app with malicious code, allowing them to steal sensitive information from the user, leading to unauthorized transactions.
Google has developed a new onboarding UI for the Play Store, as seen in leaked screenshots. This new UI could require Android users to verify their identity and payment method for in-app purchases. This verified information will help prevent accidental installations of expensive apps or apps containing malware in the future.
In addition, Android users can choose to require verification for all purchases made through the Play Store using security features like fingerprint or facial recognition. This, along with the ability to add payment preferences, will enhance the security of app downloads and in-app purchases.
Users can already require authentication for all purchases made on the Play Store and have their apps scanned for malware by Google Play Protect. Google is also working on implementing a feature called Android Safe Browsing, which will notify users of potential threats in real time as they browse the internet.
While waiting for these security improvements to be officially released, Android users can take steps to enhance the security of their devices by requiring authentication for all purchases made on the Play Store and ensuring that Google Play Protect is scanning their apps for malware.