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14:03 08/11/2019 |

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Google announces a new initiative intended to fight the spread of malicious apps on Android

(Tech) Called the App Defense Alliance, it’s a collaboration between Google, ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium that aims to reduce the risk of app-based malware by identifying and remediating new threats.



Google says it’s integrating its Google Play Protect service - which uses a combination of machine learning and heuristic analysis to detect abusive behavior - with each App Defense Alliance partner’s scanning engines. The goal is to generate intelligence as apps are being queued to publish to the Google Play Store. Partners can send a request to Google Play Protect to have an app analyzed, after which the service will send the scan results directly to the partner. It’s a two-way street: Google Play Protect can send requests to partner’s scanner services and receive results from the partner’s scanning engines.

ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium will perform these and other checks prior to apps going live on the Play Store. In Google’s latest annual “Android Security & Privacy Year in Review,” published in May, the company said that Google Play Protect substantially cut down on the number of potentially harmful apps in Google Play last year. Only 0.08% of devices that used Google Play exclusively for app downloads were affected by potentially harmful apps, and even devices that installed apps from outside of Play saw a 15% reduction in malware.

Play Protect isn’t the only tool that Google’s leveraging to fight against malicious apps. In the same report, it said that Build Test Suite (BTS) - a service that scans for preinstalled PHAs across software builds for partner OEM devices with Google services - prevented 242 builds with potentially harmful apps from entering the ecosystem. Google claims it has helped over 300,000 developers remediate more than 1,000,000 apps, to date.


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