As part of its pledge to make Android more secure and thus more enterprise-friendly, Google is adding regular malware scans to the mix. With the new update rolling out as we speak, Android will be continually checking its host device for harmful apps, while enhancing the platform’s “Verify Apps” service. This in turn will make sure that apps installed both inside and outside of Google Play are “behaving in a safe manner.”
That’s a major change compared to the current practice that saw Android scanning apps only during their installation. And in that sense, it will mostly affect users who frequently sideload apps rather than grabbing them through Google Play Store, only.
According to Google, “fewer than 0.18 percent of installs in the last year occurred after someone received a warning that the app was potentially harmful.” While that sounds plausible, some errors do occur, like the recent Virus Shield app that promised to protect users from malware and speed-up their devices, but didn’t do anything of that sort. Quite the contrary, it simply displayed a graphic, and that’s it. The application was pulled from the Play Store but only after more than 10,000 users downloaded it, each paying $3.99 for the “benefit.”
We’re sure enhancements like these will help enterprise and government clients consider Android as their platform of choice, but is that enough? We don’t think so and we’ve no doubts Google is working on even more updates to make its mobile platform as secure as competing operating systems.