The Play Store has built-in security features that scan its over 700,000 applications for malicious code, and Android Police are reporting that Android 4.2 extends this app-scanning feature to all applications, regardless of where you downloaded them. Computerworld spoke with Hiroshi Lockheimer, Android’s VP of Engineering, about Android’s new security features, who explained how the opt-in service works.
Apparently, when you first install a side-loaded application, Android will prompt you to enable the service, which sends a signature of the APK to Google, which is then compared with a list of known applications. The feature is said to run quickly in the background and won’t affect your installation unless Google finds that the application is known to be dangerous.
Lockheimer claims that Google has a decent understanding of the entire Android app ecosystem, not just those that live in the Play Store, and that they’re constantly scanning APKs that appear on the internet to improve their database. The app install screen has also been tweaked so as to better explain what permissions are being requested by the application. And it adds in some cool icons.