Google building malware scanner for Google Play: report

Google building malware scanner for Google Play: report

Summary: Search giant Google is to integrate a malware scanner in its online Android application store in a bid to stave off an impending malware 'pandemic' on the mobile platform.

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Google will integrate a malware scanner in the Google Play application store for Android devices that may help prevent malicious apps from reaching end users, according to a report.

Online news site Android Police suggests Google may be implementing the back-end solution as a result of rogue apps reaching the Android application store in recent weeks and months. According to the string of the Android application package (.APK) file released this week, strings including package_malware_title and package_malware_banner_warning with associated warnings such as: "Installing this app may harm your device" were discovered. 

It also follows a report earlier this year by security firm Trend Micro that warned of a "malware pandemic" by the fourth quarter -- which we're already in.

There are two parts to the malware scanner: an "App Check" service that inspects all the device's applications already installed to determine whether any existing apps may harm the device or. The second part is a "doorman-style app blocker" that warns the user if an app about to be downloaded may be harmful, or has been flagged as suspicious. 

The online publication previously noted "Bouncer," a work in progress by Google that acts as a server-side malware detection service for Google Play -- which was back then named the Android Market. It's though the service was developed by VirusTotal, a free online malware scanning utility, which was acquired by Google last month. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ZDNet has put in questions to Google. If or when we hear back, we'll update the piece.

Topics: Google, Apps, Malware, Security

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12 comments
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  • about time

    They learned that open source doesn t meant without any controle. Google/Android is responsible for each app they are offering in there store so they have to warant it s virus/malware free (100% security diesn t excist but still)
    Yann82
  • pipe dream (false sense of security)

    scanners are always one step behind

    sandboxes and technolgies like them are the future of security
    Jeffrey James
    • Sandboxes are also a false sense of security. Weve had them for years.

      They've had security holes ever since. Still do.
      Johnny Vegas
  • RE: Google Play "App Check" service

    From the article:
    "inspects all the device's applications already installed to determine whether any existing apps may harm the device

    Wonder what the Linux fans think of a knock-off of Microsoft's malicious software removal tool being deployed on Google's Android platform. Any takers?
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • I'm also interested in this

      I'm particularly interested since we are constantly told that any OS that requires AV in order to be safe is an OS that is flawed by design.

      Isn't Android Linux?

      Huh.
      toddbottom3
      • Who are these people that you follow there every word? Who,What, Where and

        “we are constantly told that any OS that requires AV in order to be safe is an OS that is flawed by design.”


        Android uses a Linux Kernel, but you already knew that. ;)


        Hooah!
        RickLively
      • It's a good thing that they're not talking about an AV

        Or do you not know what AV stands for?
        Michael Alan Goff
      • Is there a single OS that doesn't...

        have vulnerabilities that would allow malware in?

        In theory every OS needs AV software. You can either have a user friendly and useful operating system or you can have a secure system that doesn't really operate.

        The only computer that is secure is in a locked room, without any power or I/O devices connected to it.
        wright_is
  • Should have been doing this from the get go

    If Google is going to offer apps to its customer base, it owes that customer base the courtesy of ensuring that apps they get from Google are free from viruses or other malware insofar as it is possible for Google to ensure.
    I'm no fan of Apple, but it has got it right in vetting apps on its AppStore.
    All apps should be vetted and scanned for bogeys before being made available for download.
    Antaine O'Labhradha
  • FINALLY!!!

    They've gotten to their senses of what open software should be! Open software never implied that you should live your door open; that's just asking for trouble and that's what they got, until they finally took the red pill :D
    MrElectrifyer
    • EDIT Button Required!!

      Might consider Android as an option in the future; for now, I'll be sticking with my freed iPhone 4 while they do some clean up of their room :)
      MrElectrifyer
  • iPhone more vulnerable than Android, BB, and WP combined

    Here is an article about a study that gives a decent picture into mobile malware: iPhone more vulnerable than Android, BB, and WP combined
    http://www.phonearena.com/news/iPhone-more-vulnerable-than-Android-BB-and-WP-combined_id41258
    Here's the full report (see page 14 for mobile results):
    https://na8.salesforce.com/sfc/p/80000000dRH9/a/C0000000Csn7/gym0inSRpTGB_AluUyzy7JwYBScQkesvP6KFfrnDRJY=
    teancum144