Google’s Android is by far one of the most popular mobile operating systems in the world today, but security issues have always been a concern for the company.
The company has been trying to address these issues over time, making changes to the way permissions are approved for Android apps, however, An estimate by SensorTower claims that up to 30.3 million apps on the Play Store have been categorized as potentially harmful apps.
Considering there are 75.7 billion apps on the Play Store, that alarming number represents just 0.04 percent of total apps. But Google is certainly not taking a chance.
In its annual Android Security and Privacy Report for 2018, Google said that new policies, such as more privacy-resistant APIs and a broader implementation of Google Play Protect, its built-in malware scanner, have helped the company address security concerns.
Google also noted in the report that the company has been going to great lengths to protect devices and users when they download and use apps from outside the Google Play store. The company claimed that it had prevented a massive 1.6 billion attempts to install potentially harmful apps from outside the Google Play Store.
This number may not be significant when looking at downloads within the Play Store, but for those that send potential malware through apps that are loaded on phones.
Google, in its annual report, noted that in 2018, about 0.08 percent of devices that used Google Play exclusively to download applications were affected by potentially harmful applications. This figure is actually the same as the previous year, and even higher than the previous year.
This means that while Google’s crackdown on potentially harmful apps loading has been strong in 2018 (by 15 percent), the same is not true for apps within the Play Store.
But then how good is it to have Google Play Protect? Well, Google data shows that your chances of installing malicious apps are greatly improved if you have Google Play Protect running. The report indicates that only 0.45 percent of Android devices that use it installed potentially harmful apps, compared to 0.56 percent in 2017.
It also appears that this trend is also due to general improvements over time across the entire Android ecosystem. Later versions of the operating system showed better rates of PHA installations. Although the reduction between Android Oreo and Android Pie was only a 0.01 percentage point. This shows that Google’s job is becoming increasingly challenging as new versions emerge.
Hopefully Android Q is the solution to most of Google’s Android security problems.
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