Amazon announces plans to security-check Android apps

The promise of security vetted Android apps comes against a rising tide of criticism surrounding the fact that many apps are offered for download on the Android Market - the Google-sponsored equivalent of Apple's iTunes store - without any form of security vetting.

Although Google does claim to 'quality control' apps on the Market, Infosecurity understands that there have been problems with updates to Android apps. The lack of security situation is compounded by the fact that Android handset users can download an app from almost anywhere on the web.

According to Amazon, following the launch of its Appstore Developer Programme at the start of the year, it is now on target to launch its own appstore later on this spring.

The CBR newswire quotes Amazon as planning to impose a strict Apple-style approval process on app submitters, as well as restricting illegal activities such as pornography and copyright violations.

The newswire quotes Appstore project leader Aaron Rubenson as saying that the Amazon Appstore is intended to help customers find and discover relevant products from their vast selection.

Last week saw a number of experts, meanwhile, criticising Google's stance on checking Android apps, following the revelation that as many as 200,000 Android smartphone users may have been infected by malware from infected app downloads.

Leading security researcher David Harley, meanwhile, told Infosecurity that the security threat posed by Android is terrifying.

Google Android, he explained, is an open source platform, meaning that almost anyone can create and modify apps for the smartphone, which can then be offered for download on the internet, as well as on the Android Marketplace.

This, he says, differs markedly to the Apple approach of whitelisting apps for use on iPhones, iPads and iPod touches.

"Android is terrifying. Researchers are now saying that there will be 17 billion smartphone apps [not just on Android] downloaded by the end of 2011", he said, adding that it is an almost impossible task to track them.

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