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Google beefs up Android security with continuous app scanning feature

Available on all devices running Android 2.3 and above
Fri Apr 11 2014, 14:26

Google Android Malware

SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Google is further improving the security of its Android mobile operating system by adding a continuous app scanning feature.

At present, Google's Bouncer feature examines all apps in the Google Play store for any malicious activity. Android also has a feature called Verify Apps, which certifies apps during installation and can block them or warn the user of a problem.

Google is building on Android's Verify Apps feature, and announced on Thursday that it will add a "continuous app scanning" extension to the service. This means that, even after an app has been installed on an device, Android will now automatically check devices on a continual basis to ensure that "all apps are behaving in a safe manner".

This is also good news for those who started using Android devices before Google unveiled its security measures back in 2012.

Rich Cannings, an Android security engineer at Google, said in a blog post on Thursday, "Building on Verify apps, which already protects people when they’re installing apps outside of Google Play at the time of installation, we're rolling out a new enhancement which will now continually check devices to make sure that all apps are behaving in a safe manner, even after installation.

"In the last year, the foundation of this service - Verify Apps - has been used more than [four] billion times to check apps at the time of install.

"This enhancement will take that protection even further, using Android's powerful app scanning system developed by the Android security and Safe Browsing teams."

Google added that since the rollout of Verify Apps, very few people have seen warnings. Cannings added, "We've found that fewer than 0.18 [percent] of installs in the last year occurred after someone received a warning that the app was potentially harmful."

Google's updated Verify Apps service is available on all devices running Android 2.3 and above. µ


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