As in previous years, Google has shared a report on how they have dealt with various threats and underdog developers on their Google Play app store. It is not as complete a report as last year, but it does leave us some data from the battle against Google Play malware.
In the publication, Google has shared the measures taken during 2020 to improve the security and reliability of Google Play, as well as some numbers of the fight against malware. Google's review systems prevented nearly a million apps from posting to the Play Store who violated store policies.
Changes in Google Play policies
A year gives for many changes and adjustments in an app store, and Google has summarized the main changes you made to your Google Play policies To improve the reliability and security of published applications:
Special rules for COVID-19 apps. Google introduced a series of specific rules for applications related to the coronavirus, eliminating all superfluous applications and allowing only those that were endorsed by official organizations.
Special rules for news apps. Similarly, news applications had to follow a series of minimum requirements to be published on Google Play, including transparency about the source and authorship of the content.
Special attention to elections. During 2020 and coinciding with the United States elections, Google created a special team of app reviewers to deal with possible threats and abuses in its store.
Permission limitation. In 2020, Google began asking developers to limit access to the background location, an access that should be used only when strictly necessary. Without a clear reason, an application that continues to use the permission may end up being removed from Google Play.
Children tab. In April of last year, Google Play changed the Family tab to Children, with a selection of applications approved by teachers.
Better support. Support for developers has always been an element of friction, and Google claims to have optimized its processes to improve this communication. As a result, the time it takes to process appeals has been "significantly" reduced.
The figures of the fight against malware in 2020
As shared by Google, every day its Play Protect security system analyzes 100,000 million applications installed and, although we do not know how many of them turn out to be malware -Google usually makes another more specific report with this data- we have other curious information about it.
We only find out about Google Play malware when, unfortunately, it ends up reaching users, but Google wanted to give us visibility into the process behind it. During 2020, automated systems and manual reviewers prevented 962,000 malicious apps from reaching the store.
What's more, 119,000 malicious developers or those who created spam applications have been banned from the Google store, preventing them from continuing to publish applications, at least not without first creating a new account.
More information | Google