Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes onlyFile photo

Google prevents 2.28 million policy-violating apps from being published on its playstore

Almost 200,000 app submissions were rejected or remediated to ensure the proper use of sensitive permissions such as background location or SMS access.

NEW DELHI: Google, the US-based technology giant, prevented 2.28 million policy-violating apps from being published on Google Play in 2023. Google credited its investment in new and improved security features, policy updates, and advanced machine learning and app review processes for this achievement.

The company, in its blog, also mentioned that it identified bad actors and fraud rings more effectively, resulting in the banning of 333,000 bad accounts from Play for violations such as confirmed malware and repeated severe policy violations.

“We’ve made recent improvements and introduced new measures to continue to keep Google Play’s users safe, even as the threat landscape continues to evolve,” said the company.

“Protecting users and developers on Google Play is paramount and ever-evolving. We're launching new security initiatives in 2024, including removing apps from Play that are not transparent about their privacy practices,” said the company.

Additionally, almost 200,000 app submissions were rejected or remediated to ensure the proper use of sensitive permissions such as background location or SMS access. Google also partnered with SDK providers to limit sensitive data access and sharing, enhancing the privacy posture for over 31 SDKs impacting more than 790,000 apps to help safeguard user privacy at scale.

"We also significantly expanded the Google Play SDK Index, which now covers the SDKs used in almost 6 million apps across the Android ecosystem. This valuable resource helps developers make better SDK choices, boosts app quality, and minimizes integration risks," noted the company.

Building on their success with the App Defense Alliance (ADA), Google partnered with Microsoft and Meta as steering committee members in the newly restructured ADA under the Joint Development Foundation, part of the Linux Foundation family. The Alliance aims to support industry-wide adoption of app security best practices and guidelines, as well as countermeasures against emerging security risks.

Google introduced new Play Store transparency labeling to showcase VPN apps that have undergone an independent security review through the App Defense Alliance's Mobile App Security Assessment (MASA). Users searching for VPN apps will now see a banner at the top of Google Play explaining the "Independent security review" badge in the Data safety section. This helps users identify developers who prioritize security and user privacy.

To better protect customers who install apps outside of the Play Store, Google made Google Play Protect's security capabilities even more powerful with real-time scanning at the code-level to combat novel malicious apps.

Google's security protections and machine learning algorithms learn from each app submitted to Google for review, analyzing thousands of signals and comparing app behaviour. This new capability has already detected over 5 million new malicious off-Play apps, further enhancing the protection of Android users worldwide.

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