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Google appears to be succeeding in halting Android malware apps

Google’s efforts to stamp out Android apps containing malware seem to be paying dividends, judging by the firm’s annual report into Android security.

The 2014 Android Security State of the Union report (via AndroidCentral) claims installs of Potentially Harmful Apps (PHAs) dropped by a whopping 50 per cent during last year.

The mobile giant says less than 0.15 per cent of Android devices exclusively using the Google Play Store had installed a PHA. For those using external sources, fewer than 1 per cent of devices had installed harmful apps. That’s down 60 per cent.

Google says that over a billion Android devices are now protected by the Google Play store, which performs 200 million security scans on devices every single day. The firm’s SafetyNet tool also checks 400m connections a day to chase down potential SSL issues.

The numbers have also been lowered by Google’s own Verify Apps tool which, when enabled on Android devices, will give users a warning an app might be dangerous before proceeding with the download.

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Those stats seem sure to improve further later this year, as Google puts stricter controls in place to prevent apps containing malware making it onto the Play Store.

The firm is adopting an App Store like review process for apps submitted to the Play Store.

While this hasn’t pleased those who consider it a betrayal of Android’s open source roots, it should result in even fewer harmful apps making their way onto Android devices.

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