Google claims Android malware plummeting, with 200m security scans a day

3 Apr 2015

The rate of ‘potentially harmful’ app installations last year decreased by almost half between the first quarter and fourth quarter, with less than 1pc of Android devices installing one in 2014, Google says.

In an Android security ‘state of the union’, Google produced a lengthy report on its endeavours to keep its mobile operating system as clean as possible, as it continues its battle with iOS’ remarkably safe alternative.

Adrian Ludwig, lead engineer for Android security, produced the report along with encouragement that projects like this will only improve in the future.

“We’re committed to making Android a safe ecosystem for users and developers,” he said.

“In 2015, we have already announced that we are are being even more proactive in reviewing applications for all types of policy violations within Google Play. Outside of Google Play, we have also increased our efforts to enhance protections for specific higher-risk devices and regions.”

The crux of the 44-page report is that Google Play is doing its best to keep the app environment secure, undergoing 200 security scans of devices every day to protect 1bn devices.

Last July, Google Play initiated automated systems to seek out vulnerabilities in the apps it publishes, which warns developers about their projects.

“These include warnings about potentially dangerous storage of credentials, use of out-of-date open-source libraries, and other best practices,” reads the report.

That has lead to more than 25,000 app updates to remove potential security issues, with Android and Android partners responding to 79 externally reported security issues, and more than 25,000 applications in Google Play updated following security notifications from Google Play.

Of the 79 patches brought out by Android, none were related to critical issues, with the majority being merely moderate problems.

“I kind of apologise for the fact that it’s 40-some pages, but hopefully next year it will be 150 pages and we’ll get even more data,” said Ludwig.

It’s contrasting with a February report by security expert FireEye, which found Android devices are far more susceptible to cyberattacks than iOS.

Google Play image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic