Google is introducing an innovative Play Protect quality that examines apps downloaded from external sources for potential security threats. It will alert you about any malicious code it detects before you complete the installation process. While Google Play Store has often been unfairly associated with hosting risky and harmful apps, the true security concern arises when you sideload apps. This process bypasses the Play Store’s protective measures. As a response, Google is enhancing its detection capabilities to identify potentially harmful sideloaded apps before you finalize their installation.
Install With Confidence – Sideloaded Android Apps to Face Intense Malware Scrutiny
Google generally has a commendable track record of filtering out malicious elements but occasional slip-ups occur . However, Android boasts a unique aspect that sets it apart from iPhones: the ability to sideload apps. This means you can get around the Google Play Store and download applications from alternative sources, be it the Amazon App Store, F-Droid, or through direct downloads.
Bad actors have figured it out, and now malware often spreads through sideloading, especially using messaging apps. In previous times, when you sideloaded an app, your Android device would perform a basic check by comparing the app to a database of known harmful counterparts. It would only issue a warning if a match were found, marking the limits of the protection you received when venturing outside the secure confines of the Play Store.
Google is now increasing the stakes. When you sideload an app, Android will go beyond the norm and conduct a “real-time scan at the app’s code level” just before the installation wraps up. This scan aims to spot any possible problems. It will start with the usual process of checking against a database of known malicious applications. However, if it encounters an application that hasn’t been scanned yet, it will ask if you want to initiate the scan. The decision to begin the scan will be yours to make.
Google is introducing this feature initially in India, a country that ranked highest in a 2018 report for malware distribution. The company has expressed its intention to expand this feature to all regions shortly. It’s heartening to see Google shifting its stance on sideloaded apps. Their objective is to grant Android users the liberty to install applications from any application marketplace, as long as these apps adhere to the company’s security standards.
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