How Safe is Google Play Store from Malware?
According to Android security experts, downloading play store app from the Google Play Store and not using any side-loading or third-party app stores will help protect you from malware. It will not attack the virus on your Android device. There are many differences of opinion on this matter. According to a report published in Forbes Magazine on 2018, about one million users in the Play Store think of a racing game that downloaded the virus from the Play Store.
A security firm discovered some apps that were hiding in the Play Store on 2017, sending fraudulent text messages to users’ phones. Later, the virus-infected apps were removed from the Play Store, but the apps were downloaded 2 billion times before they were removed from the Play Store. Recently there was a report headline on The Next Web; “Google Play Store has found 205 harmful apps that have already downloaded more than 100 million users.
Android vs Malware
Similar to Windows PCs but cannot automatically access malware on Android operating system. Android (Android studio) can be infected only if you download the malicious app from your phone and install it and allow the app its permissions.
Currently cybercriminals have become more and more clever. They somehow embed the malicious code with a legit-like app and upload the app to the Play Store so that users can download it freely and allow the permissions. You may not realize that your device has malware. You may have downloaded the Simple Photo Editor app, but it can perform various types of malicious activities, from slowing down your phone, to personal information such as personal data theft, phone number theft, email address theft, your GPS location data access, and so on. Once your phone is infected with malware, more new malware can be installed and the phone becomes ready for a new attack.
The Google Play Store is more reprehensible than Apple’s App Store. Apple’s system is very hard, developers have to comply with Apple’s many rules, terms and conditions when they want to upload an app to the App Store. If you are a developer, your app will be published in the Apple App Store only after you have agreed on many things.
Google tries to keep Android’s system as open as possible. As a result, developers can easily upload apps (much easier than the App store) to the Play store. Google has to keep their systems as open as possible, as developers can publish apps to the third-party App Store (apkmirror) or have side-loading and system-based access, so Google will lose even more control over Android apps. Much easier to upload to the Android App Play Store, which makes it much easier to spread malware in the Play Store than Apple’s App Store.
Google launched an Android security feature called Bouncer in 2012 to protect their Play Store from malware. The bouncer finds the malicious app in the Google Play Store and removes it from the Play Store before users download it. But the year the bouncer was exposed, malware infections were only reduced by 40% in the App Store.
Google later added a buildin security feature called ‘Play Protect’ – but compared to the bouncer, it did not show any significant improvement in detecting malware. Comparisons with different anti-malware software show that Google Play Protect scores the highest. Then around 2016 Google launched the app review process manually by people. But cyber-criminals come up with new ideas day after day, and in a whole new way, Malicious apps are uploaded to the Play Store, avoiding everyone’s eyes.
Be Careful about Using the Play Store
The Google Play Store is also not 100 percent secure. That means downloading any app from the Play Store and nothing will happen. Following are a few things that can be a lot safer if you follow them. Download the app only from reputed publishers in the Play Store. Before downloading, be sure to download a developer’s app. Check if your bank’s app is the publisher of your bank or anyone else. Google Play Store is not 100% safe. But it’s still much safer than downloading apps or side loading unofficially.
Before downloading any new app, please take a moment to read its reviews. What original users commented on. You can get an idea of how much work the app really has or what type of problems it has.
If you want to ensure greater security, you can use good antivirus such as mobile security. With many phones, they are installed automatically. One more thing – if you want to be safe on Android, never root your phone.