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Google Play App Suspensions Jump 66%

Google has claimed it’s getting better at spotting bad apps on its Play Store marketplace, with the number of rejected submissions and suspensions both growing into the double digits last year.

The Android platform has often been criticized by security experts for being more exposed to cyber-threats due to it being relatively open compared to Apple’s ecosystem.

However, Google Play product manager, Andrew Ahn, claimed that thanks to new initiatives the firm has managed to increase rejected app submissions by over 55% and app suspensions by more than 66% in 2018.

“In 2018, we introduced a series of new policies to protect users from new abuse trends, detected and removed malicious developers faster, and stopped more malicious apps from entering the Google Play Store than ever before,” he said.

“These increases can be attributed to our continued efforts to tighten policies to reduce the number of harmful apps on the Play Store, as well as our investments in automated protections and human review processes that play critical roles in identifying and enforcing on bad apps.”

He added that as well as detecting threats in the Play Store, Google scans over 50 billion apps on users' devices each day to see whether they’re behaving suspiciously.

Among other improvements highlighted by Ahn are enhanced clustering and account matching technologies which help human reviews to better spot persistent “abusive” developers.

“As mentioned in last year's blog post, we fought against hundreds of thousands of impersonators, apps with inappropriate content, and Potentially Harmful Applications(PHAs),” he continued.

“In a continued fight against these types of apps, not only do we apply advanced machine learning models to spot suspicious apps, we also conduct static and dynamic analyses, intelligently use user engagement and feedback data, and leverage skilled human reviews, which have helped in finding more bad apps with higher accuracy and efficiency.”

However, ever-changing tactics and increased use of cloaking tools will continue to give the black hats an advantage, he admitted.

In November last year a researcher found 13 malicious apps on the Play Store, which had been downloaded over half a million times at the time of their discovery.

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