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Technology Google signs up mobile security firms to rid Play Store of bad apps

22:10  07 november  2019
22:10  07 november  2019 Source:   techradar.com

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In an effort to better protect the Play Store from malware and malicious apps, Google has announced that it has partnered with the cybersecurity firms ESET, Lookout and Zimperium to launch a new project called the App Defense Alliance.

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According to Google, the goal of the new project is to unify malware and threat detection engines to improve the security scans that Android apps must undergo before they are published on the Play Store.

Currently when a developer submits an Android app to be listed on the Play Store, the app is scanned by Google employees using a system called Bouncer and by Google Play Protect. Both of these systems have been able to detect thousands of malicious Android apps which were submitted to the Play Store.

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  Surprising no one, researcher finds adware in Google Play Store apps with millions of installs The last few weeks and months have seen a pretty steady drip of news headlines touting adware-laden apps found to have made their way into the Google Play Store, such as this recent batch of camera and VPN apps that managed to rack up several hundred million downloads. The pattern is essentially a giant game of Whack-a-mole, where the apps sneak in and score a slew of downloads before they're found out and booted from Google's app marketplace --It’s a pattern that keeps repeating itself, with a malware researcher reporting on another batch of apps infected with adware and all sorts of other security issues — 172 such apps, to be specific.

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However, neither of these systems are perfect and over the years, many malicious apps have managed to slip through their screening process which has left unsuspecting consumers vulnerable as they trust that the apps on the Play Store are legitimate.

Bypassing Play Store security

Over the past few years, the cybercriminals behind Android malware have changed their tactics in an effort to avoid being detected by Bouncer and Play Protect scans.

Malicious apps have begun to employ a multi-stage delivery system, where an app's malicious payload is downloaded after being installed, to reach more users on the Google Play Store.

Google News can display stories in two languages in your feed

  Google News can display stories in two languages in your feed If you're fluent in two languages, there's a good chance you want to read news stories in both -- say, to keep up with both your country of origin and the one you now call home. And if that's the case, Google now has your back. Google has updated News for Android and iOS with support for displaying stories in two languages with just a single feed. You could keep up with both American and Korean news, or even use the same language to keep tabs on news in different countries.The approach is now available in Google News' language settings for 141 countries and 41 language variants.

Another method used to avoid detection, which has been observed in the wild, revolves around using a timer to delay any malicious behavior by hours or days. This way the malware won't be detected while it is undergoing security testing at Google.

With the App Defense Alliance, Google will now have additional resources in its fight against malicious apps making their way onto the Play Store.

VP of Android security and privacy, Dave Kleidermacher explained how the company will leverage ESET, Lookout and Zimperium's scanning engines to identify malicious apps in a blog post, saying:

“As part of this Alliance, we are integrating our Google Play Protect detection systems with each partner’s scanning engines. This will generate new app risk intelligence as apps are being queued to publish. Partners will analyze that dataset and act as another, vital set of eyes prior to an app going live on the Play Store.”

  • Secure your devices with the best antivirus software

Via ZDNet

Google adds another 37 apps to its Play Pass subscription service .
Rather than buying hundreds of individual apps for your mobile device, companies are increasingly offering subscriptions where you pay a single monthly fee to access all the apps you want. Play Pass, Google's Android app subscription service, launched in September with a catalog of more than 350 apps. The service faces stiff competition in the form of Apple Arcade though, so Google has now expanded its program to offer a further 37 games and apps.

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