Through malicious apps, bad actors exploit users’ personal data, harass them, and the consequences are fatal

Google Play Protect, the native security system of the Android platform, has unveiled an innovative feature that conducts real-time code analysis on Android apps and prevents the installation of potentially harmful ones, TechCrunch reported.

In a recent announcement, Google introduced this groundbreaking real-time app scanning feature integrated into Google Play Protect. The company asserts that this feature is designed to identify and block malicious or counterfeit applications that might infiltrate Android devices from sources outside the official app store.

“Our policies are increasingly stringent to deter predatory apps from being listed on the Play Store. Nevertheless, malicious actors are resourceful, constantly devising new tactics to deceive people, prompting us to take additional measures”, said Saikat Mitra at the Google for India event in New Delhi last month, Google’s head of trust and safety for APAC, highlighting the evolving threat landscape.

Play Protect now recommends real-time app scanning for any new app that has not undergone prior analysis. This process involves a thorough examination of an app’s code, enabling it to extract crucial information that is then relayed to Play Protect’s backend infrastructure for a comprehensive code-level evaluation.

While Google regularly scrutinizes apps on the Android platform for malware, it is not always infallible. Additionally, many Android users continue to engage in sideloading, a practice that involves installing apps from sources other than the official app store, effectively bypassing the numerous security measures in place. Sideloading remains a favored choice among Android users.

In a bid to address the alarming rise of predatory loan applications, Google has introduced an enhanced real-time code-level scanning feature. These apps have been linked to the harassment of users, leading to tragic consequences, including instances of victims taking their own lives. These malicious actors exploit user data, such as contacts and photos, to intimidate and bully individuals.

Over the past year, Google has taken decisive action by removing more than 3,500 of these apps due to violations of its policy requirements. However, attackers continue to find new avenues to target vulnerable users.

Google initially launched the Play Protect update in India and intends to expand its deployment internationally in the near future.

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