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Google Developing Their Own Malware Scanner Dubbed “App Check”

Eric McBride
7

 

Anyone who uses an Android device, or any mobile device for that matter, probably already knows that malware is something that responsible owners of mobile devices need to take seriously. Google took steps to tackle malware by adding an extra layer of security known as Bouncer, which is designed to scan for malicious software on the Google Play Store. But Google apparently isn’t stopping there, as a recent Play Store update reveals something called “App Check”, which appears to be a Google developed malware scanner.

Android Police discovered the existence of App Check when digging through the latest Play Store apk file. From the code they observed, it seems as that App Check will not only scan pre-installed apps for malware, but will also scan, and block when needed, newly installed applications. There will naturally be an option to deactivate this feature should you find it to be too restrictive. Images of a shield and an exclamation point with triangles were also found, which are apparently “Malware free” or “Oh snap..malware!” scan results.

Here is a look at the string files discovered in the Play Store code, courtesy of Android Police:

While this functionality was found within the code, it has not been rolled out as a functioning feature yet. When it does roll out, the Google malware scanner will work right alongside Bouncer, which will provide Android users with another layer of protection for their phones and tablets.

It’s good to see Google being pro-active on the malware issue, and developing their own malware scanner certainly sounds like a great idea to me.

Picture credits: goandroid.co.in and Android Police

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Comments

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  • Rutger Oct 15, 2012 Link

    This is the downside of Android. Obviously it's easier to make an app with malware and get it into Play, than it is to get it into App Store.
    Is there any quality-check at Play, like at App Store, or is it just because it is the largest platform?

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  • Eric McBride Oct 15, 2012 Link

    @Rutger - Sure, there are checks, but Google still has a long way to go when it comes to quality checks on Google Play. Liinux is also more malware prone than IOS (to my understanding), so it will be a challenge.

    But remember, malware has also began to hit the App Store!

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/adriankingsleyhughes/2012/07/06/first-ios-malware-hits-app-store/

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  • ljhaye Oct 15, 2012 Link

    Although I don't like malware either, please remember that Android is an open platform so if developers want to upload something malicious they can. Remember Apple has the walled garden approach that most Android users disagree with. So I accept the price that comes with the openness. As an app developer myself, apples rules and strict guidelines regarding quality are a real inconvenience but you make it up knowing that people will BUY your hard work. Android I liked the earlier days when they were truly open and check apps for quality it gave you a chance to update your app real time as opposed to having to wait for a "gatekeeper".

    In my opinion, malware and fragmentation are just bogeymen used to vilify the OPENESS of the Android platform…

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    DaBartonator Oct 16, 2012 Link

    What happened to Google's bioshock bouncer?

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  • Patrick R. Oct 16, 2012 Link

    @Ijhaye, very good point. I find it funny that iOS users always think my Note is infected with malware in one form or the other. When I explain to them that there arw precautions that I take, they say that they don't want to under go that hassle each and every time they download an app. Well, I hope Apple continues to excel in checking apps before they get to the store...

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  • Ken Denning Oct 17, 2012 Link

    pos

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  • Kyle Gordy Nov 12, 2012 Link

    I want a remake to "Kill Bill" called "Kill Mobile Malware" - more violence than Google's approach...jk... I get the whole open source argument, but abuses need to be guarded against for the good of the whole community. So I like these efforts. I like what Airpush is doing with Appthority too. It just sucks that circumstances call for it.... http://www.examiner.com/article/airpush-raises-the-bar-on-security-for-mobile-ad-networks

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