Published: Wed, January 31, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Wayne Curry

Google removed 700000 malicious apps from the Play Store in 2017

Google removed 700000 malicious apps from the Play Store in 2017

We don't have an Android Go edition phone in hand to give the new Google Assistant Go app a test drive, but as far as the Play Store description of the app goes, certain features of the Assistant such as reminders, controls for smart home devices, Actions on Google, and Device Actions are not now available for Android Go devices through this app. But Google says 99 percent of apps with what it calls "abusive content" are now snagged before they're published.

Google was able to do that through machine learning created to weed out apps with inappropriate content, malware and copycats, Andrew Ahn, the Google Play product manager, said in the blog post.

Earlier this month, Google removed 60 games from the Play Store, which displayed pornographic advertisements, something strictly against Google's policies for publishing apps on the Play Store.

That's about 1,900 a day and 70 per cent more than Google banished past year. In addition, "We've also developed new detection models and techniques that can identify repeat offenders and abusive developer networks at scale". Part of this comes down to the more open nature of the platform and app store, including the ability to quickly enable features like installing apps from unknown sources. The improved machine-learning models sift through massive amounts of incoming app submissions and flag them for potential violations.

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Appthority, the global leader in enterprise mobile threat protection, today announced the product of close collaboration with Google to offer seamless integration of its mobile threat defense solution and managed Google Play. To combat this, Google wants to teach users how to make better security decisions, though it's also using Google's Safe Browsing tools to detect if an app connects to a known bad site. Finally, potentially harmful applications (malware) only made up one of the smaller groups of blocked or removed software, but there was a focus on these due to their damaging nature, and the user install rate has been reduced by ten times compared to 2016.

Last year, Google put all of its malware scanning and detection technologies under the umbrella of Google Play Protect.

When you think about it, the fact that so many apps were removed from Google Play is a good thing. Google said that Google Play Protect will continue to be updated as well as the other security measures that are used in Google Play Store.

Tell us in the comments what you think of all of this news. "We have much more data than before for the models train on so can better detect nuances and hidden abuse", the Google rep said.

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