Google Play Protect Scans Android Apps for Security Threats

Android’s status as the world most widely deployed mobile operating system has in recent years been somewhat clouded by the fact that it is also one of the most vulnerable to security threats.

In its latest effort to address the issue, Google this week announced Play Protect, an always-on service for scanning Android applications running on a user’s device and alerting them about potentially harmful behavior.

The technology, which is basically an antivirus tool, scans all Android applications downloaded from Google’s official Play store as well as those downloaded from third-party sites.

Information about any malicious behavior is uploaded to a Google cloud system where it becomes part of a larger dataset that is used to extent Play Protect’s effectiveness.

Google is also using Play Protect to constantly scan applications uploaded to its mobile app store and to weed out those displaying malicious behavior. The technology bolsters Google’s current application review mechanisms in Google Play.

At its Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif. this week, Google also previewed new management and security features in Android O, the latest version of the operating system that is scheduled for release later this year. The features, according to the company, are designed to bolster application and data protections for enterprises running Android applications.

“Google Play Protect is built into every Android device with Google Play and uses the latest in advanced machine learning technology to identify threats and automatically keep them off your device,” Google senior product manager Travis McCoy said on Google’s The Keyword blog.

The technology gives people, who are using their Android devices in a work setting, more control over the security of their application environment, McCoy said. And it gives IT administrators a way to ensure that harmful apps are weeded out of all Android devices that are used to access enterprise…

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