Google cracks down on malicious Android apps

Google has revealed a huge decline in the number of Play Store apps that abuse permissions to access users’ personal information.

In a blog post on its efforts to fight bad apps and malicious developers, the company said it had observed a 98% decrease in apps that unnecessarily get access to users’ call and SMS log data.

“The remaining 2% are comprised of apps that require SMS and Call Log data to perform their core function,” Google said.

This decline was attributed to a collaboration with developers after Google implemented a new policy in 2018.

With this policy, Google said apps running on its Android OS will only be allowed to access call and SMS information if these are selected as a user’s default call or texting app.

Other security policies

In addition to the changes to call and SMS log permissions, Google introduced another policy to better protect families in May 2019.

The changes meant developers had to declare their target audience and carefully consider whether content in their apps – such as ads – was aimed at and appropriate for children.

To better shield users from malware, the company said it had refreshed its Play Protect programme.

“Google Play Protect scans over 100 billion apps every day, providing users with information about potential security issues and actions they can take to keep their devices safe and secure,” Google stated.

“Last year, Google Play Protect also prevented more than 1.9 billion malware installs from non-Google Play sources.”

Google said it will continue to work to adapt what it calls the “world’s safest and most helpful app platform” in a changing threat landscape.

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Google cracks down on malicious Android apps