The Android Market has been growing at a very high pace and with so many Android apps entering the Android Market every day, it has been a tough job for reviewers to keep an eye on every malicious applications entering the Google’s Android Market. To deal with such apps Google has announced some new security measures that will help in improving the integrity of software on the Android Market, and will prevent the spread of malicious software. This service called Bouncer is now running on Google servers, scanning for malware being uploaded to the Android Market. It does this by scanning for currently-existing malware, spyware, trojans in apps being uploaded. Google claims that all apps uploaded to the Market are run on their cloud infrastructure in order to simulate what the app will do on an Android device in order to try and determine any negative effects an app will have.
This has been a relatively difficulty task in detecting new forms of malware being created each day, but Google claims a high degree of success with Bouncer: malware’s have decreased on the Android Market by 40%. This is cheekily included next to a mention that providers of anti-malware software are claiming that the amount of malware on the Market is increasing. This appears to be true based on Google’s claim though – as they claim a 40% decrease in “potentially-malicious downloads from Android Market” while device activations increased 250% year-over-year.
Contrary to the malware rate on the App Store which is nearly zero, a lot of users iOS user feel Android is not secure. This is a trade-off on Android: because apps have more power and higher level of permissions in exchange for some decreased security conditions. It’s part of Android, and as Google claims – apps have to list their permissions on the Market, third-party software must be prompted to install on a device before having negative effects, there is a degree of sandboxing on the device, and Google can kill malware on users’ devices remotely. This is superior to most any desktop platform experience, still, and at least Google is trying to take steps to show that the Market is not just the Wild West that some would make it out to be.