For the past several years, search engine giant Google has been scaling up security measures to prevent malicious Android apps entering the Play store. Among them, Application Security Improvement Program (ASIP) in 2014 and Play Protect are used to monitor suspicious apps on Android mobiles. But, the Android ecosystem is so vast, understandably its huge task even for big companies like Google to track vulnerabilities in apps.
But, Google, doesn't give up easily and wants to take on the issues as they come and also with improving work on machine learning and Artificial Intelligence, it is now possible to track security issues quickly than ever before. Since the conception of ASIP, Google has been helping more than 300,000 developers to fix more than 1,000,000 apps on Google Play.
"In 2018 alone, the program helped over 30,000 developers fix over 75,000 apps. The downstream effect means that those 75,000 vulnerable apps are not distributed to users with the same security issues present, which we consider a win," Google Security Blog said.
The Mountain View-based company also claims that the screening process for developers who want to upload their Android apps to Play store, has been intensified and if find one, it will be forwarded to concerned to the party to rectify the loopholes.
In 2018, Google identified six new security vulnerabilities as follows:
- SQL Injection,
- File-based Cross-Site Scripting
- Cross-App Scripting
- Leaked Third-Party Credentials
- Scheme Hijacking
Google says it will continue to improve the app screening process to detect new exploits through 2019 and beyond. Its ultimate aim is to safeguard Play store from malicious apps and privacy of the Android phone users.
A few weeks ago, Google announced that there was a 55-percent increase in rejection during app submission and 66-percent increase in app suspension from the Play store. That's really big, considering the fact that Play store houses more than 2.6 million apps, which caters to billions of Android phones.
"In addition to identifying and stopping bad apps from entering the Play Store, our Google Play Protect system now scans over 50 billion apps on users' devices each day to make sure apps installed on the device aren't behaving in harmful ways. With such protection, apps from Google Play are eight times less likely to harm a user's device than Android apps from other sources," Andrew Ahn, Product Manager, Google Play, said in a statement.