Google, through the Google Security blog, released its second Android Security Annual report, which reveals how Google protects the Android ecosystem, the security measures implemented last year and the company’s collaborations in the name of security.
According to Google, compared to last year, it has made significant improvements in detecting potentially harmful security issues, with upgrades made to machine learning and even correlation.
One of the highlights of the report is Google’s claim that it was able to protect Android users from malware and potentially harmful apps, or PHAs, by scanning more than 6 billion installed apps daily. In addition, Google was able to protect users from threats through scanning 400 million Android devices daily.
Google Chrome’s Safe Browsing feature was also mentioned to have protected the hundreds of millions of users of the Internet browser on Android devices.
Google was also able to reduce the number of PHAs on the Google Play Store, with these dangerous apps being installed in less than 0.15 percent of Android devices that are only downloading apps from Google Play.
Google also highlighted the security enhancements introduced by Android 6.0 Marshmallow, including the requiring of full disk encryption, updates to app permissions that allow users to manage their data being shared, a new verified boot that makes sure that the Android device is functioning perfectly, and many more.
All these data that Google included in the Android Security Annual report was meant to show that the company is not simply brushing away highly publicized security issues, such as the Stagefright exploit that would allow hackers to take over Android devices remotely in a matter of seconds.
“There is a fairly big disconnect between what’s in the data and what’s in the public discussion,” said Android lead security engineer Adrian Ludwig, who added that part of what Google has been going to improve security is making improvements to the security updates process.
However, despite the work being put by Google into improving Android security, the report also mentioned that up to 420 million active Android devices are running on versions of the operating system that are not supported by the security patches being released. Users of such devices, if they continue to refuse to update to the latest Android version, would remain vulnerable to cyberattacks.
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