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Google's efforts to improve security and prevent bad apps from being published



Despite Google's efforts to improve security features and app review processes, cybercriminals are continuing to find ways around the app storefront's security protections and publish malicious and adware apps. In 2022, Google disclosed that it blocked 1.43 million bad apps from being published to the Play Store. In addition, the company said it banned 173,000 bad accounts and fended off over $2 billion in fraudulent and abusive transactions through developer-facing features like Voided Purchases API, Obfuscated Account ID, and Play Integrity API. The addition of identity verification methods such as phone number and email address to join Google Play contributed to a reduction in accounts used to publish apps that go against its policies, Google pointed out. The search behemoth further said it "prevented about 500K submitted apps from unnecessarily accessing sensitive permissions over the past 3 years." "In 2022, the App Security Improvements program helped developers fix ~500K security weaknesses affecting ~300K apps with a combined install base of approximately 250B installs," it noted. In contrast, Google blocked 1.2 million policy-violating apps from being published and banned 190,000 bad accounts in 2021. The development comes weeks after Google enacted a new data deletion policy that requires app developers to offer a "readily discoverable option" to users from both within an app and outside of it.

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