Last week, Google posted about the steps it’s taken to continue to protect Android users from interacting with bad apps and bad developers. Additionally, Google Play Protect continues to scan billions of apps installed on billions of devices every day to protect Android users from malware and other dangerous issues.
Have all these swipes paid off for Google and Android users? Absolutely. Last year, Google blocked 1.2 million policy-violating apps from being listed in the Play Store, preventing billions of harmful installs from taking place. Last year, Google also banned 190,000 bad accounts and closed 500,000 abandoned or inactive developer accounts..
Last week, Google launched the “Data Security” section of the Play Store, which it announced last May. Through this section, app developers should give users a more detailed look at the privacy and security features of the apps they download. They also need to be more transparent about how they use the data they collect and why that data was collected in the first place.
Google offers Pixel users additional security with the Security Hub which provides a central view of a Pixel user’s current device configuration. This protects their smartphone, apps, Google account, and passwords. Additionally, the Security Hub also recommends how a Pixel should be configured to meet user needs.
Google Play Protect now also uses machine learning tools to help detect the presence of malware in apps scanned by the platform. As Google puts it, “our global teams are focused on keeping our billions of users safe and look forward to many exciting announcements in 2022“.
Google Play Protect is getting better
Now, when an app requests access to your location, you can decide whether or not to grant that permission. And if you do, you can decide if you should give this permission just once, while using the app, or all the time.
For sensitive permissions, such as camera, microphone, or location data, you can access Android’s privacy dashboard by clicking Settings > Privacy > Privacy Dashboard. You will be able to get an overview of which apps have accessed your location, camera and microphone in the last 24 hours. You can tap on a specific app and quickly change your permissions.
Knowing what your options are when an app wants to use your smartphone’s camera, location data or microphone can be the difference between having a safe and secure experience on the Android platform or finding out that your personal data has been compromised by a bad actor and a bad app that wants to use your personal information to steal money directly from your bank account.