Search engine Google announced on Tuesday that its subdivision Google Play had taken action against “malicious apps” and removed over 7 lakh apps that were proved to be dangerous from the platform.
The company claims to have used machine learning to identify these apps with options like impersonation, inappropriate content, and malware to pick out over 7,00,000 apps and 100,000 developers, which is 70 per cent more than in 2016.
Android Developers Blog stated, “In fact, 99 percent of apps with abusive contents were identified and rejected before anyone could install them.”
Google, on its Android Developers Blog, stated that impersonators or ‘copycats’ are the most common viruses and create malicious effects in apps. In 2017, as many as 2,50,000 apps were removed after they were proved to be impersonating ones. The impersonators carried out deceptive methods such as “confusable Unicode characters or hiding impersonating app icons in a different locale” to create virus affects.
Google Play does not allow any kind of inappropriate content for its users. According to the company’s definition, inappropriate content includes pornography, extreme violence, illegal activities, and hate. Google Play claims that with its machine learning technology, the company removed about tens of thousands of inappropriate apps in the last year.
Google Play also removed the presence of Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs) that cause harm to device users. Apps which involved phishing, fraud, and Trojans were part of the list. With the launch of Google Play Protect, the annual PHA installed have apparently gone down by 50 per cent year by year, the company said. Google Play Protect is the company’s malware scanning feature.
Andrew Ahn, Product Manager at Google Play, said, “Despite the new and enhanced detection capabilities that led to a record-high takedown of bad apps and malicious developers, we know a few still manage to evade and trick our layers of defence. We take these extremely seriously and will continue to innovate our capabilities to better detect and protect against abusive apps and the malicious actors behind them. We are committed to make Google Play the most trusted and safe app store in the world.”