Google announces “Bouncer” to tackle “potentially malicious software” in the Android Market

Smartphones have a great deal of data which make them a prime target for hackers who want to lace it with malware. A few Android apps have been subject to this, but Google has a way to combat this issue. Today they’ve announced a new service they developed called “Bouncer”. On their mobile blog Google has written that Bouncer automatically scans developer accounts and the Android Market for “potentially malicious software without disrupting the user experience”.

Apparently this has already been in testing for a while now, but publicly announced today. Google said they have noticed the number of malicious apps in Market decreasing, specifically claiming a 40% reduction during 2011. Google noted that “While it’s not possible to prevent bad people from building malware, the most important measurement is whether those bad applications are being installed from Android Market”.

Here’s how it works: once an application is uploaded, the service immediately starts analyzing it for known malware, spyware and trojans. It also looks for behaviors that indicate an application might be misbehaving, and compares it against previously analyzed apps to detect possible red flags. We actually run every application on Google’s cloud infrastructure and simulate how it will run on an Android device to look for hidden, malicious behavior. We also analyze new developer accounts to help prevent malicious and repeat-offending developers from coming back.

Android is becoming more popular everyday. It’s estimated that the Android Market has about 400,000 available apps and has seen over 11 billion app downloads. In addition, Google confirmed a couple weeks ago that 700,000 Android devices get activated everyday. So with these powerful numbers it’s good to see Google taking this issue seriously… because the last thing they need is something to ruin Android’s momentum.

Source: Google Mobile Blog

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