Google’s Play Protect feature has been improving its security measures to better protect Android users from malware and cyber criminals. Currently, Google scans 125 billion apps daily to ensure the safety of its users. If a potentially harmful app is detected, Google Play Protect can send a warning, prevent installation, or disable the app if it’s already installed.
However, cyber criminals are finding ways to evade detection. They modify features on apps in third-party app stores to hide their true identities as malware. This scheme tricks users into sideloading what they believe to be a clean app, but it is actually malware.
Another tactic used by cyber criminals is to trick users through malicious apps, messaging apps, or emails into revealing sensitive information such as passwords, credit card PINs, and personal banking details. These attackers play on users’ emotions, exploiting their fear of being scammed. For example, a user might receive a text appearing to be from their bank, claiming that a large withdrawal needs to be verified. Out of fear, the user might click on a link and unknowingly reveal personal information. In this case, the fear of being scammed leads to being scammed.
To combat these threats, Google has upgraded Play Protect. In addition to relying on existing scanning intelligence, on-device machine learning, and similarity comparisons with infected apps, Google Play Protect now conducts a real-time code-level scan when installing an app that has never been scanned before. After the analysis, the user will be notified if the app is safe to install or if it is potentially harmful and blocked. This helps prevent users from installing apps that use various methods, including artificial intelligence, to escape detection and steal personal data.
Google emphasizes their ongoing commitment to improving the security of apps and combating malware and unwanted software. Its multi-layered system, which includes Play Protect, monthly security updates, app permission controls, and Safe Browsing, keeps Android users safe from malware and unwanted software. Furthermore, Google and Gmail also play a role in protecting users from phishing and spam.
The enhanced version of Google Play Protect has started rolling out to all Android devices that use Google Play services. The rollout began in India and will gradually include all markets in the coming months. Google’s continuous improvement in security measures and machine learning algorithms ensures the strengthening of protections for the entire Android ecosystem.