Google keeps an ever-closer eye on non-Play Store apps

Google logoAndroid owners who use apps installed from outside of the Play Store will soon find their devices just a smidge safer, as Google announced at the RSA Conference here that Verify Apps will soon keep an eye on non-Play Store apps even after you install them.

Adrian Ludwig, Google's Android security engineer lead, said the change builds on the Verify Apps security feature introduced last year. He explained the change during a talk on how Google has created a secure open-source operating system.

Google keeps an ever-closer eye on non-Play Store apps

When the Verify Apps option is checked, Google will scan apps installed outside of the Play Store to make sure they're not malicious. This was a one-time check, but the new component, which requires no additional changes by the user, will warn you when an app is determined to be malicious even if it passes muster the first time around.

Users will see a warning in the notification tray, so the ultimate decision to leave a suspected malicious app on the device remains up to the user. Google said the feature is rolling out in the coming weeks.

Ludwig mentioned the Verify Apps improvement while discussing Android's layered security protocol, which creates multiple levels of security including app sandboxing, permissions, additional security provided by third-party apps, and Android's basis on SELinux itself.

He also revealed some Android security facts indicating that the rate of infection from Potentially Harmful Apps is low.

  • 100 percent of devices have sandboxes and permissions;
  • 95 percent of devices have Verify Apps;
  • Most devices only install from trusted sources;
  • Around 0.8 percent of app installs from unknown sources receive a warning;
  • Less than 0.18 percent of apps from unknown sources are installed after a warning;
  • Less than 0.001 percent of installed apps attempt to evade runtime defenses;
  • Google doesn't know what percentage of installed apps evade runtime defenses and cause harm, but it's less than 0.001 percent of apps.

Ludwig also presented a case study on Android malware. In the case of the "Master Key" vulnerability discovered last year, Google revealed more facts:

  • There's no evidence of exploits before the flaw was revealed at the Black Hat conference;
  • One day after Google was notified, Google Play was secured;
  • Less than one month after Google was notified of the Master Key problem, the patch was delivered to Open Handset Alliance partners;
  • One month after Google was notified, the company verified that apps had been secured;
  • One month before the first exploit was reported, devices began to receive updates;
  • Installs exploiting Master Key from unknown sources: less than 8 in 1 million;
  • Estimated installs that exploited the Master Key flaw: less than 1 in 1 million.
Source: CNET

Tags: Android, Google

Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
Your comment:

Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party

Last news

Consumer group recommends iPhone 8 over anniversary model
LTE connections wherever you go and instant waking should come to regular PCs, too
That fiction is slowly becoming a reality
The Snapdragon 845 octa-core SoC includes the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem
Human moderators can help make YouTube a safer place for everyone
Google says Progressive Web Apps are the future of app-like webpages
All 2018 models to sport the 'notch'
The biggest exchange in South Korea, where the BTC/KRW pair is at $14,700 now
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Review
The evolution of the successful smartphone, now with a waterproof body and USB Type-C
February 7, 2017 /
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /

News Archive



Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments (4)