Google has announced the removal of 700,000 malicious or poorly constructed applications from the Play Store in 2017. The number represents a 70% increase over the previous year and, according to the company, was achieved thanks to improvements in techniques to identify violations of the rules from the Android app store. The search giant further claims that 99 percent of the threats were eliminated before anyone else could install them.
In its official blog posting on Android developers, Google reveals the top reasons for removing programs from the Play Store. To begin with, the company has eliminated more than 250,000 apps that mimic other famous apps, the so-called copycats, which try to attract search traffic from the mobile store. Already tens of thousands of software contained inappropriate content such as pornography, extreme violence, hate speech and illegal activities.
Another large group of applications removed were those that hid potential threats to the user’s cell phone. These are programs that carry malware, trojan horses, which lead to SMS fraud, among other risks. According to Google, the launch of the antivirus Play Protect has made installations of this type of application 10 times smaller in 2017.
Google also said user education and the use of machine learning also helped toughen the fight against malicious applications. According to the company, 99% of the threats were removed before anyone could even download the infected program. Finally, a new model of detection of abusive developers was developed, which resulted in the withdrawal of 100,000 bad professionals from the store and made it more difficult to return these individuals with other accounts.
The total number of apps available on the Play Store is not yet known, but estimates published by the Statistic show that the number of apps grew from 2.6 million at the end of 2016 to 3.5 million in December 2017. Despite the advances , it is well known that there are still many questionable source programs in the Android store. However, Google has committed to continue to develop new detection mechanisms in the coming months.