Google gives Android apps a security booster shot

Summary:The Android team announced that it will be rolling out an upgrade consisting of always-on monitoring, intended to ensure all apps are operating securely.

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Online security is being buzzed about more than ever in the wake of the unprecedented Heartbleed bug discovered this week.

While not entirely related, Google's latest security announcement is a long time coming anyway given that Android is repeatedly skewered by security researchers for being a prime target for mobile malware.

The Android team announced that it will be rolling out an upgrade consisting of always-on device monitoring, intended to ensure all apps are operating securely, even after installation.

Building upon the existing "Verify" apps warnings, Android security engineer Rich Cannings noted in a blog post on Thursday that the platform has already been used more than four billion times to check apps since last year.

While acknowledging ever-present, serious threats to the Android ecosystem (and connected devices at large), Cannings suggested that the program has been successful thus far.

Because potentially harmful applications are very rare, most people will never see a warning or any other indication that they have this additional layer of protection. But we do expect a small number of people to see warnings (which look similar to the existing Verify apps warnings]) as a result of this new capability. The good news is that very few people have ever encountered this; in fact, we’ve found that fewer than 0.18% of installs in the last year occurred after someone received a warning that the app was potentially harmful.

The extra security service layer is now available to devices running Android 2.3 and higher via Google Play.

Image via the Official Android blog

Topics: Security, Android, Google, Mobility, Web development

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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