Search engine giant Google with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has deleted more than 700,000 malicious apps from the Google Play store.
It has not only weeded out the nefarious apps, but also put sanctions on the developers and the company for their fraudulent acts. Furthermore, Google detected apps with objectionable content and rejected, before they get installed by users on their phones, all thanks to the Robocop-like machine learning models and techniques in the AI algorithm, which monitors behaviour such as impersonation, inappropriate content, or malware – in the Android ecosystem.
"We've also developed new detection models and techniques that can identify repeat offenders and abusive developer networks at scale. This resulted in taking down of 100,000 bad developers in 2017, and made it more difficult for bad actors to create new accounts and attempt to publish yet another set of bad apps,"Andrew Ahn, product manager, Google Play, said in a statement.
Based on the intensive study of apps on Google Play, the company has indentified three types of malicious apps—'Copycats', which mimic user-interface and also impersonate titles of popular applications to fool people in to downloading them and steal information, second the 'Inappropriate content' apps, which show pornographic images to lure gullible users. Some of them have been found guilty of showing extreme violence, hate, and performing illegal activities, as well.
The last is the 'Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs)', the most deadly of the three, as they conduct SMS fraud, act as trojans, or phishing user's information.
Though small in volume, PHAs pose a very serious threat to Android users and Google is investing heavily in keeping them out of the Play Store.
Despite Google doing its bid to strengthen its security measure on Play store, Android mobile device owners are also partly responsible for circulation of malwares. To be on a safer side, always follow the below guidelines before installing an app on your phone:
- Always keep your smartphone updated to the latest firmware. Most companies in collaboration with Google send software updates — especially security patches on priority basis and always make sure to update them immediately
- Make sure to use premium Antivirus software, which also provides malware protection and internet security
- Never open emails sent from unknown senders
- Never install apps from unknown websites
- Never install apps from unfamiliar publishers even on Google Play store
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