Google announces App Defense Alliance to fight malware on Play Store

Anne Freier | November 8, 2019

App Business

Google is taking a more serious stance against malware and has announced a partnership with cybersecurity firms ESETLookout, and Zimperium. Together, the companies hope to catch bad players among the Google Play apps so they’re not being downloaded by users.

As part of the newly launched App Defense Alliance, Google hopes to reduce app-based malware across its Play Store.

Google launched its malware protection system Play Protect in 2017. It features on-device protections and a cloud-based infrastructure to scale over 500,000 apps regularly.

The technology also uses machine learning to weed out malicious apps more rapidly and at a larger scale. This would not be achievable when done with human employees only.

As part of the Alliance, Play Protect will be integrated with the scanning engines of every partner.

It’s about time the company is taking a serious stand against malware. Android has been plagued by numerous instances of fraudulent apps and malware issues over the last few years.

Only recently, a security researcher found that Android apps including Hotspot VPN and Free VPM Master were serving ads in the background without user consent or knowledge thereof.

In August, Google removed 85 gaming and photo apps that had been part of a fraudulent scheme detected by cybersecurity firm Trend Micro.

Given repeated issues and continued detection of fraud schemes on Google Play, it’s unsurprising that the company has attracted criticism for not vetting its store thoroughly enough.

Hopefully, the App Defense Alliance will make a difference.

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