Google Play Store bans 190,000 malicious developer accounts – deletes 1.2 million Android apps

Google Play Store

According to Neowin, when it comes to the Play Store, privacy and security are becoming a higher priority for Google. There are reports that Google is deactivating all third-party apps that record calls. The company is also introducing a “data safety” section on its storefront that requires developers to provide more information about any user data they collect and the purpose behind it. Now, Google has provided some stats about the security of the Play Store in 2021.

Google Play Store

Google’s latest report reveals that in 2021 alone, it has to ban 190,000 malicious and spam developer accounts. Recall that back in 2020, this number was 119,000. Likewise, 1.2 million apps were removed for violating the Google Play policies. This means that the company successfully blocked billions of potentially harmful installs. Over 500,000 inactive and abandoned developer accounts were also closed.

Google also reviewed its recent efforts to make the Play Store a safer space for consumers. It mentions the Data Security section, which is the core application policy management interface for developers, and efforts to provide more secure SDKs to the billions of consumers of applications built with these SDKs.

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The company noted that 98 per cent of apps migrated to Android 11 have reduced access to sensitive APIs. This includes the Accessibility API, which now only works for specific use cases and not for call recording. Google also mentions

“We also continue to work on making Android a great place for families. Last year, we disallowed the collection of all users’ Advertising IDs (AAIDs) and other device identifiers in kid-only apps, and allowed all users to completely remove their Advertising ID, regardless of the app.”

Some Android apps will leave the Play Store on Nov. 1st

In order to protect the privacy and security of users, Google will begin to restrict old applications in the Google Play Store. In a new blog post, Google explains that starting November 1, 2022, existing apps that don’t use the API targets for two years after the release of the latest mainstream Android operating system will no longer provide search discovery or download. Any app that falls into the category will leave the PlayStore from November 1st.

According to Google, these upcoming requirements are to protect the privacy and security of users. Users who update their devices regularly “expect to realize the full potential of all the privacy and security protections that Android offers”. However, the “vast majority” of apps in the Google Play Store already adhere to the new standards. Thus, once the policy update is in place, there shouldn’t be much change.

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Developers will need to keep their applications compliant with updates. Currently, to release an app on the Google Play Store, developers must meet the Android API target of the latest mainstream release within a year. Thus, you don’t have to worry about any new or just-updated apps disappearing any time soon.

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