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Google downplays the number of 'potentially harmful apps' on the Play Store – BGR



In a new report looking back over 2018, a year in which Google celebrated the 10th anniversary of launching the first commercial Android device, the search giant gives itself a pat on the back for what seems to be an impressive milestone. The company's newly released year in review of its Android security efforts says the company's increasing crackdown on what it calls "potentially harmful apps," or PHAs, continues to pay off. How much? Less than half of 1% of all app downloads from the Google Play Store in 2018 were given a PHA rating.

Of course, as with any such analysis, some context and caveats are in order. 0.04% of PHAs in 2018? It was up from 0.02% in 2017, an increase that was due to the inclusion of "click fraud" as a PHA category in 201

8. Before, click fraud was considered a Google Play policy violation. Back out the instances of click fraud from the stats, though, and Google says the number of PHAs actually plunged 31% from 2017 to 2018.

Another point to consider is that while 0.04% sounds like a pretty small percentage, if you (196600) Among those apps, click fraud apps accounted for almost 55% of total installs in 2018. Such apps often have "desirable features" like music or gaming, Google's report explains, while the app is meanwhile executing click fraud in the background. "Many of the major apps that we removed from Google Play in 2018 because of the embedded click fraud code were flashlight, music player, or game apps," the report continues. "In the review, Google said that by the fourth quarter of 2018, security updates were received by 84% more devices than in the same quarter a year earlier. Also, the Android security rewards program surpassed $ 3 million in total payouts, the program being a way for Google to work with top researchers around the world to improve the security of the Android ecosystem

. of Android 9, which has been added to the note and a myriad of new security features to keep devices and users secure. Other insights in this report include the fact that the Google Play Protect mobile threat detection service scans more than 50 billion apps every day across more than 2 billion devices

Image Source: Google


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