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This article was published on January 18, 2017

Google reveals how it flagged 25,000 Android apps for malware

Google reveals how it flagged 25,000 Android apps for malware
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

Using an open platform like Android means you have to be willing to take the good with the bad. Without stirring up an annoying Android vs iOS debate, it’s a fact that Android plays host to more malware than iOS due, in part, to its open ecosystem. Luckily, Google engineers work night and day in an attempt to spot and remove malware before it infects your device.

A recent Digital Trends article outlines some of how it’s done, straight from the mouth of Google.

According to Google, each app is scanned for malware and other exploits before being listed on the Play Store. But scans don’t catch everything, and each app you download could still contain malware or other unknown exploits. To combat this, Google keeps an eye on each app downloaded after it’s added to an Android device. Using information transmitted between your device and Google’s servers, engineers can see if an application starts messing with things it shouldn’t — like device settings or security protocols (without permission).

If an app attempts to sever the communication between Google’s servers and the device, engineers are able to monitor if this is happening to others by analyzing lost connection data for others that installed the app. If it reaches a certain threshold, Google performs a manual review to look for what’s causing it.

This is one of many ways Google attempts to protect Android users but it’s worth mentioning: none of these processes are perfect and you can still get malware from the Play Store.

Stay vigilant out there.

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