Android certified items under safety net of Google Play Protect

Shook up with all the tech news headlines about Android malware? Planning to break your vow to never get in line for an iPhone with all the choices you get from phone makers tied to Android?

You may not need to defect if you ponder recent news from a Google India blog about its Google Play Protect.

The blog posting is by Madan Ankapura, Partner Product Manager (Android) and Toru Kawamura, Android Partnerships.

The blog said people can shop for certified devices and know they are certified by looking for the Play Protect logo carried on retail packaging.

"When shopping for an Android tablet or smartphone, you will be able to see whether it is certified or not by simply looking for the Google Play Protect logo on the box," said Digital Trends.

Neowin said this was a way to assure customers the device they were about to invest in would give them the most secure experience possible.

Neowin said it "it acts as an anti-malware 'firewall' that will notify the user if about to install a malicious app, "and in some cases, disable or uninstall it by default."

The resolve to enhance peace of mind about buying an Android device is not surprising considering malware attacks that security researchers often trace to mischief makers having their way with the Android system.

Running compatibility tests that ensure devices adhere to the Android security and permissions model is one line of defense. The tests make sure that Google apps pre-installed on devices are authentic.

After all, "There are basically two kinds of Android devices out there in the world—ones that are certified by Google and come preinstalled with Google apps (including the Play Store), and ones that aren't," said Chaim Gartenberg in The Verge.

The recent Google blog about the program noted that Android is an open-source platform with an ecosystem and today, there are over 2 billion active devices worldwide. Brenda Stolyar in Digital Trends commented that "With an open-source platform, it can be tough to keep up with the pace of more than 2 billion active devices around the world."

Google Play Protect has a suite of security features such as automatic virus scanning and Find My Device.

According to Google, the Google Play Protect "actively scans your device and is constantly improving to make sure that you have the latest in mobile security. Your device is automatically scanned around the clock to give you peace of mind."

Chris Duckett in ZDNet said, "Play Protect is aided by Google's machine learning, which is trained to look for harmful apps based on scans of 50 billion apps each day."

Fossbytes, regarding partners who are making certified Android devices for their markets, noted the list included Samsung, Motorola, HTC, LG, HMD, and Xiaomi, among others.

As Android Authority said, "Devices from companies like Samsung, LG, and HTC are already certified by Google Play Protect, but this new change should help you know whether that Android phone from a smaller OEM is certified or not."

"We work with manufacturers across the globe to run hundreds of compatibility tests that ensure devices adhere to the Android security and permissions model," the blog authors said. The tests also verify that the Google apps pre-installed on devices are authentic, and that apps from the Play Store can work as intended.

Back in June, eZanga found upwards of 300 malicious apps in the Play Store. The apps were racking up fraudulent ad clicks. CNBC relayed the story:

"On June 7, they found 312 apps with the SDK module—53 of which were in the Google Play store. A week after, the SDK module was in 750 apps, 300 of which were in the store. Two days after that, the number ballooned to 1,330 apps, and 317 were available for purchase in the store."

Michelle Castillo, CNBC: "Google Play did remove all the apps eZanga named in the study within a few weeks, Kahn said [eZanga CEO Rich Kahn]."

Explore further: Google says Android malware cut in half

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