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Google bans suspect app developers to prevent malicious apps

Google has reportedly banned 119,000 app developer accounts in 2020. This follows concerns from different consumer groups about the quality of apps.

Google's London HQ. Image by Tim Sandle.
Google's London HQ. Image by Tim Sandle.

Google has reportedly  banned 119,000 app developer accounts in 2020. This follows concerns from different consumer groups about the quality of apps and the risk some pose to users.

Google has also used machine learning security solutions to help to wheedle out the malicious apps and the company has also applied the technology to prevent over 962,000 malicious apps from getting onto the Play Store.

To make sure developers are on message, Google clarified and updated its developer policies with additional information, revised text, and some real-world examples to make the guidance easier to understand by coders.

In addition, Google has introduced specific requirements for COVID-19 apps. This is intended to clamp down on misinformation and, sometimes, potentially damaging health advice.

Plus the technology giant has put in place revised guidelines for its news apps. These are designed to ensure user transparency together with developer accountability. This will be realized through providing users with relevant information about the app.

Reacting to the news, Mark Crichton, Senior Director of Security Product Management at OneSpan, tells Digital Journal that the Google new represents a positive step.

Crichton says: “It is reassuring to see that Google are taking a strong stand against malicious applications on its application “Play Store”.”

All well and good, yet there is a ‘but’. Here Crichton finds: “However, the simple fact is that it’s inevitable some will slip through the net. Mobile devices have become a central part of many people’s financial lives with the rise of Monzo, Revolut and other digital-only banks, so this news is a crucial reminder that financial service app developers must ensure exceptional security hygiene.”

There is more that can be done to help to protect consumers, notes Crichton. He states: “Since we can’t assume consumers devices to be safe environments, financial apps can take additional steps to protect their users with app shielding – an advanced mobile app security that travels with the banking app to protect the institution and their users against mobile banking threats similar to this one.”

In doing so, Crichton  says; “This will allow financial apps to operate safely even in hostile environments.”

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