Google seeks the help of security firms to check the Play Store for malware

Google recruits three cybersecurity companies to check the apps for malware before they are added to the Play Store.

Up until now, Google relied on its own malware scanning engine to filter out ‘malware-containing’ apps prior to listing them on the Play Store. However, they will now use ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium to enhance their vetting process and minimize the chance of downloading malicious software from their database.
"It’s called the App Defense Alliance and together, we’re working to stop bad apps before they reach users’ devices.", explained Dave Kleidermacher, VP, Android Security and Privacy, in a blog post.
Luckily, the risk of downloading a malicious-laden app from the Play Store was already very low. In fact, last year, only 0.08 percent of devices used for downloading apps from the Play Store were infected by harmful apps.

However, with time, hackers are becoming more innovative with their malicious acts and conducting different ways to bypass the security system of Play Store. In some cases, the hackers jumble up the app’s computer code to conceal their malicious processes. Other tricks involve hijacking the developer’s app and discreetly adding adware to lure the victims in downloading harmful apps or making payments. Many times, these attempts get unnoticed until they have downloaded thousands or even millions of times.

To prevent this from happening, Google is adding another pair of eyes to scrutinize the process and not giving hackers any pathway to enter the official app store of Google.

The security companies that will be flagging out the harmful apps will also have access to the Google Play Protect malware-scanning engine to check the apps for suspicious processes.

Google also says that it will expand its protocol in the future. As of now, the selected groups of cybersecurity companies are chosen for their high achievement records in finding potential threats and improving the ecosystem.

In their official statement, the tech giant has also assured the app developers that the extra vetting will not delay the app publishing schedule and all apps that pass their assessment will go live according to their designated timeframe.

Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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