Some app developers and hackers are always working to inject malware and Trojan into the Android system. This means that Google can not go to sleep because some of this malware can completely cripple a device. In 2016, Google removed hundreds of thousands of apps from the Play Store which do not meet up to Google’s requirements. However, it is quite disheartening that it had to expunge over 700,000 bad apps from the Google Play Store in 2017. This value is 70% more than what was removed in 2016. This sort of commitment from Google has made the Play Store safe over the years. Google did not just expunge the “bad” apps, it was able to to take prior action against 99% of these apps such that they were identified and rejected before anyone could install them. Google used its new machine learning models and techniques to significantly improved its ability to detect abuse such as impersonation, inappropriate content, or malware impersonation, inappropriate content, or malware.
Bad App Category Expunged From Play Store
The apps that were removed from Play Store fall into three categories which include Copycats, apps with inappropriate content and Potentially Harmful Apps (PHAs).
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Copycats: These apps mimic the operations of popular apps to attract some of the traffic meant for the original app. This is the most popular violation and over 250,000 impersonating apps were deleted from the Google Play Store.
Apps With Inappropriate Content: Goole is strongly against apps that contain or support inapt contents such as pornography, extreme violence, hate, and unlawful activities. Such apps were mostly flagged for potential violation by Google’s improved machine learning models. According to Google, tens of thousands of these apps were expunged from Play Store last year.
Potentially Harmful Apps (PHAs): Apps in this category are fewer than the other classes but let’s not forget that they are most dangerous in that they affect users or their devices by conducting SMS fraud, act as trojans or duplicating and utilizing user’s information. These apps were handled by Google Play Protect which was launched last year, and PHAs in the Play Store was reduced by 50% year over year.
Google is very committed to make the Play Store the most trusted and safe app store globally thus it had developed different detection capabilities to tackle malicious apps and contents whenever they arrive. Though a host of these bad apps have been taken down, Google acknowledged that there are still a few that manage to evade and trick its layers of defense. However, the company reiterated that it would continue to develop its capabilities to better detect and protect against abusive apps and the criminals behind them.