Product manager at Google Play, Andrew Ahn, said that not only were more malicious apps removed, they were also flagged and dealt with at a much faster pace. In an attempt to identify repeat offenders and abusive developer networks at scale, Google has developed new detection models and techniques. Google removed 100,000 bad developers in 2017, he added.
Ahn said the biggest problems included "copycat" applications (those that impersonate famous brands), inappropriate content such as pornography or violence, and Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs), which include spam, malware and phishing apps. Google on Tuesday announced that Google Play in 2017 has taken action against the "bad apps", it basically used machine learning to identify bad apps with identifiers like - impersonation, inappropriate content, and malware.
Tens of thousands of apps containing inappropriate content were removed from the Play Store. That's a 70 percent increase over the total removals in 2016. Such investments lead the company to introduce Google Play Protect feature for Android previous year, which has taken down the PHA rates by 50 per cent.
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The code, extracted by 9to5Google, shows updates to other integrated services as well, such as the ability to download and sync podcasts through the Google app, more granularly defined shipment tracking and the inclusion of video chat app Duo into Google Assistant smart displays.
Google is also trying to control the potential damages caused by the apps installed from the third-party app stores. Ahn was proud to point out that in addition to removing more apps, they were able to identify and remove them more quickly too.
Stamping out harmful apps is a never-ending effort for Google - but at least it's getting easier. But said that it takes them "extremely seriously, and will continue to innovate our capabilities to better detect and protect against abusive apps and the malicious actors behind them". Avast, an antivirus company, also found the same malware across several apps, like in games of Solitaire. However, these numbers equate to 7,000 malicious apps making their way to Android devices. The only way to resolve this issue without compromising the openness of the platform would be to present warning screens on the Chrome browser while downloading unknown APKs (Android app installers).