Google updates annual security and privacy report cracking down PHA installs

Google updates annual security and privacy report cracking down PHA installs

Google just posted its fifth annual security and privacy report detailing about the Google Play protect the Android ecosystem as a whole and more about apps in this detailed report. According to Engadget, despite a crackdown on the potential harmful application (PHA) executed by Google worldwide, it has seen a rise in this category and now that the “click fraud” apps have been added to the category as well.

As the figures are concerned, Google Play reported a significant increase from 0.02 percent back in 2017 to 0.04 percent in 2018 in terms of PHA downloads worldwide. The statistics suggest that if click fraud apps that were recently added into the PHA category, are removed, the figure declines by 31% Y-o-Y.

Since it is not that an easy task to crackdown on more than two billion Android-enabled devices that are currently in operation, Google introduced its AI-based Google Play protect that works by scanning down billions of apps in smartphones every day and reports and takes required actions against apps that violate Google’s policies. To put things into perspective, the Google Play Protect scans over 50 billion apps daily in order to tackle such harmful apps from infiltrating on the Android ecosystem.

Further, the data before and after Google Play Protect supports its efficiency where it was reported that back in 2017, PHA downloads in Android smartphones was 0.56 percent which has dropped to 0.45 percent in 2018 with smartphones running the Google Play Protect which is a considerable improvement. Google is also tackling PHA apps installed via Google Play and outside the Google Play where the data suggest a steady rise in PHA installs at 0.04% via Google Play while a drop has been recorded from 1.48% in 2017 to 0.92% in 2018 when it comes to PHA installs from outside of Google Play.

As Google introduces a new Android version every year, each version has its own stats concerning PHA installed. Here, Android Lollipop amounts for the most at 0.56% while the latest Android Pie amounts for just 0.18% install. As per the report, Google Play Protect prevented more than 1.6 billion PHA attempts from outside the Google Play while there is no data available for installing performed within Google Play.

The report further dictates the distribution of PHA categories across its platform where it recorded 54.9% of click fraud apps, 16% of trojan apps, 6.8% SMS fraud, 4.2% for spyware and toll fraud among others.

Google has been cracking down apps that perform ad scams, click fraud apps and more. Last month, Google removed more than 210 apps infected with adware called SimBad but only after reporting more than 150 million downloads collectively.

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