Rich Cannings, Android Security Engineer at Google, updated the Official Android blog with news that the company is enhancing a service on Android to better protect customers from malware-laced apps. This service builds upon Google's Verify Apps feature, which already protects people when they're installing apps outside of Google Play at the time of installation.
According to Google, the company is now continually checking devices to make sure that all apps are getting along and behaving like legitimate apps should. Does this sound like Google is snooping around on your Android device? Yes it does, but the company points out that Verify Apps alone has been used more than 4 billion times to check apps at the time of install.
"Because potentially harmful applications are very rare, most people will never see a warning or any other indication that they have this additional layer of protection," Cannings writes. "But we do expect a small number of people to see warnings (which look similar to the existing Verify apps warnings) as a result of this new capability."
Cannings adds that less than 0.18 percent of installs in the last year occurred after someone received a warning that the app was potentially harmful. Apparently, the Verify Apps warning is working beautifully.
"Even though the risk is miniscule, we're committed to making sure that the best available security protections are available to all Android users," he concludes. "This includes service-based protections such as Verify Apps, as well as security features within the platform itself."
The new service is available on Android 2.3 and later. Most device owners can find the service listed under Settings/Security in Android 4.2 and later. For those with Android 4.1.2 and older, Verify apps can be found under Google Settings/Verify apps.
Google seemingly has your back if you own an Android device. But this constant scanning… is it overkill given that the company scans all apps loaded up on Google Play? The real danger, it seems, is when customers install apps left and right that are not from Google Play. Malware infections can be bad news for those who like swapping apps on third-party social tools.
Infected apps on Google Play are extremely rare, as Cannings pointed out.