Google has introduced Play Protect, a malware tracker that keeps a constant vigil on apps that have been downloaded from the Play Store.
Google Play Protect scans apps and devices for harmful behaviour and notifies users if any security risks are found.
Google Play Protect will be able to plug a serious vulnerability that allowed hackers to infiltrate apps after they were downloaded by users from the Google Play Store. The feature will ensure that Android apps are as secure on devices as they are on the Play Store prior to installation.
'All Google Play apps go through a rigorous security analysis even before they’re published on the Play Store—and Play Protect warns you about bad apps that are downloaded from other sources too. Play Protect watches out for any app that might step out of line on your device, keeping you and every other Android user safe,' noted Google in a blog post.
As part of Google Play Protect, Google has also introduced Find My Device which will help users locate, ring, lock and erase their Android phones.
Play Protect will run in the background, constantly scanning apps downloaded from the Play Store or from third party sites. This will help Google protect users from harmful ransomware that hackers inject into devices by masquerading them as common software.
Earlier this month, hackers used two Google Play Store apps named Wallpapers Blur HD and Booster & Cleaner Pro to inject a potent ransomware named LeakerLocker. LeakerLocker was then used to extract money from smartphone users by threatening to release their private messages and pictures to their friends.
According to McAfee, hackers took advantage of permissions granted by users during installation to inject the ransomware, thus bypassing Google Play Store protections. With Play Protect, Google will be able to detect and block such malware from taking control of Android devices and quarantine them at the same time.