Android’s open-source platform permits users to install applications from sources other than the Google Play Store. While this flexibility is a unique feature of Android, it does expose users to potential security risks. In contrast, iOS restricts app installations to Apple’s App Store, thereby providing a more controlled and secure environment. Consequently, for an average consumer who may inadvertently install malicious apps from unknown sources, an iOS device is often recommended over an Android device. However, Google is actively working to enhance security measures for such scenarios, aiming to offer a level of protection comparable to that of iOS devices.
Google Play Protect feature offers proactive protection against malware and unwanted apps and is enabled on all Android devices with Google Play Services. Even when you download apps outside of Google Play, Google Play Protect scans the downloaded apps and warns you when the app is found to be malicious from existing scanning intelligence or was identified as suspicious from its on-device machine learning, similarity comparisons, and other techniques.
Yesterday, Google announced that it is making Google Play Protect’s security capabilities even more powerful with real-time scanning at the code-level. Google Play Protect will now recommend a real-time app scan when installing apps. When you do the scanning, Google will extract important signals from the app and send them to the Play Protect backend infrastructure for a code-level evaluation. Once the analysis is complete, users will get a result on whether the app is safe to install or not.
This improved Google Play Protect feature will be available for all Android devices with Google Play services in select countries, starting with India. Google will expand this feature to all regions in the coming months.