Our website uses cookies

Cookies enable us to provide the best experience possible and help us understand how visitors use our website. By browsing Infosecurity Magazine, you agree to our use of cookies.

Okay, I understand Learn more

Google Begins Manual App Reviews to Boost Android Security

Google claims it has begun manually reviewing apps in a bid to improve their quality and protect users from malicious and inappropriate content.

Google Play product manager Eunice Kim revealed in a blog post that the app review process had been tweaked a few months ago.

“This new process involves a team of experts who are responsible for identifying violations of our developer policies earlier in the app lifecycle,” she explained.

However, some reports claim that the app review process still relies mainly on automated testing – which might be part of the reason why the firm is arguing “that there has been no noticeable change for developers during the rollout.”

“We value the rapid innovation and iteration that is unique to Google Play, and will continue to help developers get their products to market within a matter of hours after submission, rather than days or weeks,” Kim said.

This contrasts the lengthy Apple app review process, of course, although the iOS ecosystem is far less afflicted by malware.

Kim also claimed developers will now have more insight into why apps are rejected or suspended, “and they can easily fix and resubmit their apps for minor policy violations.”

The move is long overdue for Google, as malicious apps regularly permeate the official Play store, while various sources claim the number of malicious apps out there on the ecosystem is now in the millions.

Webroot threat researcher, Roy Tobin, welcomed the move by Google but said users still need to exercise caution when downloading apps.

“Once an app is downloaded, users should be aware of what information it has access to and any request should be heavily scrutinized,” he argued.

“If you’re not sure then deny access until you can get more information about the app. On top of this, people should take a proactive approach to security and install anti-virus software like you would on a PC.”

Tobin added that while Google may be getting the official Android store in order, third party app stores remain a potential breeding ground for malware.

The news comes, appropriately enough, as mobile security vendor Lookout claims to have found 13 instances of aggressive adware on Google Play.

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?