With mobile devices becoming increasingly more dominant and more of the daily online interactions taking place on portable devices, it’s no wonder that they are becoming a larger and larger vector for attack by bad actors. Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs) are one such vector for attack.
On Android, we have Google Play Protect that scans not only apps submitted to the Play Store for potentially harmful actions but also protects your device if you choose to sideload content from unofficial sources. Today, Google unveiled its next phase in the war against PHAs and bad actors.
Say hello to the App Defense Alliance.
Google has partnered with three large security research firms ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium to create a two-way automated security verification alliance. The three partners are able to access the Google Play Protect system and run security scans on suspicion apps in real-time, aiding them with their research.
In a reciprocal fashion, Google is able to access the power of the three partners’ systems in assisting with verifying apps that have been submitted to the Play Store. This will enable Google to utilise the various security checks of all three firms to reduce the overall incidence of PHAs.
The combination of Google’s AI-enhanced security checking system and the databases of the three research firms will enable Google to detect and stop more PHAs and in turn, keep the Play Store cleaner and users safer. Security is always a game of whack-a-mole, but with four known companies on Google’s team, they’re going to hit more of those moles more often.