Google Takes Aim at Android Malware with Bouncer

Android Market logoGoogle has implemented a feature called Bouncer, which they hope will lead to a significant reduction of malware in the Android Marketplace.

Android has long had problems with malicious apps finding their way into the Android Marketplace. The problem has been the approach: infected apps would stay in the Marketplace until they were detected and reported. Bouncer, a new feature announced by Google, automates the detection and reporting process – while maintaining the relatively open approach that separates the Android Marketplace from Apple’s App Store.

Bouncer uses a number of methods for detecting malware: first, it scans new apps as they are uploaded to detect malware, spyware and Trojans; secondly, it compares an application’s actual operation with its expected operation and compares the app with similar apps that have had issues; finally it inspects new developer accounts to make sure that the developer is not just an old malware uploader up to new tricks.

For the most part, things seem to be working. Google has announced a 40% reduction in malware detections since Bouncer has been in operation – that is good news and that they have been able to achieve that reduction while maintaining developer freedom is even better.

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