Android security has always been a hot topic in the media media. The way people talk about it, you’d expect reports of malware-infected phones every day. But thanks to Google, Android is very safe and secure from malware. Even when new malware does surface, Google makes sure nearly all Android devices are safe as quickly as possible.
Google has two systems to fight malware. The first is Verify Apps, a local system that scans each app when it’s sideloaded. It’ll scan for malicious actions, like SMS abuse or malware spreading, and will warn you if it finds anything dangerous. The second is the server side system on Google Play, which scans all apps on the Play Store for safety and security. Anywhere you install apps from, Google has you covered.
Remember the “Master Key” vulnerability that people got pretty mad about? It was publicized one day, and Google rolled out protection from it the next. Verify Apps was updated with the security measure a few weeks later, long before devices would’ve gotten software updates to protect them. Google claims that there were no exploit attempts on a device before the security was put in place. It shows how safe Android really is, and a lot of it is thanks to Google (and the rest is common sense).
Now Verify Apps is getting a significant change in the next Google Play Services update. Instead of scanning apps as soon as they are installed, the service will scan apps continuously to check for suspicious actions that weren’t detected initially. This update will be rolling out to every device with Android 2.3 and higher in the next couple of weeks. And as always, Verify Apps is an opt-in service, so you can disable it at any time.
Security isn’t a big issue on Android and it hasn’t been for a long time. An open market can be done well, and Google has proven that time and time again. Of course, you should still practice common sense and not install suspicious apps or app files from sources that you don’t trust. If you accidentally do, though, know that Google has you covered.