Google and Security: The Google Play Protect Situation

September 1, 2022

Unfortunately for Android users, Google’s default app-security program is not the safest bet. A write-up at News Patrolling explores “Why Google Play Protect Fails to Identify Malicious Apps.” A few points are obvious—Google cannot help users who turn the feature off, for example, or those who install software from other sources. The company also lacks Apple’s advantage of controlling both hardware and software. That does not explain, however, why third-party tools from AhnLab to Trend Micro outperform Play Protect. Reporter Satya Prakash observes:

  • New kid on the block – As compared to other security software platforms that have been in existence for decades, Google Play Protect was launched in 2017. While it’s true that Google can hire the best security experts, it may still take some time for Google Play Protect to achieve the same level of security as offered by private software platforms. …
  • Too many apps and devices – There are around 3 million apps on Google Play and several thousands are added almost every day. Combine that with thousands of different types of smartphones, having different Android versions. Apparently, it’s a massive task to be able to fix security vulnerabilities that may be present in each of these cases.
  • Reliance on automated systems – Due to huge number of apps and devices, Google relies on automated systems to detect harmful behavior. Private security firms use the same approach, but apparently, they are doing a much better job. Hackers are constantly looking for new security vulnerabilities that can be exploited. This makes the job tougher for Google Play Protect.”

Happily, there are many stronger alternatives as tested by AV-Test. Their list is worth a look-see for Android users who care about security. A comparison to last year’s results shows Play Protect has actually improved a bit. Perhaps someday it will perform as well in its own app store as its third-party competition.

Cynthia Murrell, September 1, 2022


Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta