Thursday, February 2, 2012

Google Announces New "Bouncer" Security

On Thursday, February 2 Google announced that it was adding some new security for its Android Market. This new security is being called the Bouncer. It will scan Android apps for any possible malware.

Google went on to say that Bouncer will scan all new and existing apps as well as the developer’s accounts. All of this will be done "without disrupting the user experience of Android Market or requiring developers to go through an application approval process," said Google's vice president of engineering, Hiroshi Lockheimer.

"Here's how it works: once an application is uploaded, the service immediately starts analyzing it for known malware, spyware and trojans," Lockheimer wrote in a blog post. "It also looks for behaviors that indicate an application might be misbehaving and compares it against previously analyzed apps to detect possible red flags."

Google will run every single app through the scanning process and alert users to anything that might be a potential issue. Developers' accounts will also be examined to make sure that any banned individuals do not try to come back.

Android malware issues were a big topic last year. Google does not have a particularly strict app approval process for the Android Market, which does make it a much more open environment; however, unlike the Apple App Store, the store is much more susceptible to malicious apps.

"We've chosen not to be the gatekeeper," said Alan Davidson, the former director of public policy at Google. "We don't generally go back and try to make sure that every app does what it says it's going to do. [Google is] really trying to maximize the ability of small app developers to get online."

According to data that was released by Juniper Networks, the number of malware issues from the Android Market jumped 472 percent just between July and November 2011. However, Google’s report was very different than Juniper Networks' report. Google said recently that in the second half of 2011 it saw a 40 percent decline in the downloading of potentially malicious apps on the Android Market.

"This drop occurred at the same time that companies who market and sell anti-malware and security software have been reporting that malicious applications are on the rise," Lockheimer wrote. "We know the rate is declining significantly."

Sources: Google Blog - Android and Security and PCMag - Google 'Bouncer' Now Scanning Android Market for Malware is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

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