Google Promises Better Android Security after App Scam

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Alvin Bryan

Alvin Bryan is a freelance writer and online privacy enthusiast enthusiast currently contributing quality tips and troubleshooting on personal VPN services, and online privacy and security news. You can also find him on Google +.

30,000 Android users were cheated by a fake security app. The app somehow got through Google Play app screening. Users are now being refunded. Google is also promising better Android security against malicious apps.

Google Apologizes for Fake Virus Shield App

Android Security Virus ShieldVirus Shield appeared on Google Play promising virus protection in one click. The app went for $3.99 and sold like crazy. The fake antivirus app got to the top of the Play Store ranks before it was discovered. By the time Android Police found it out, there were already over 10,000 downloads.

The Virus Shield app was not malicious in nature, its makers say. They simply uploaded the wrong version, they say. The app developer took it down from the store before Google made payments to him. His account has also therefore not been blocked by Google. The developer also said that he might upload the right app soon and offer it for free. So far, there has not been any app made available on Google Play.

Google is giving back all payments made by users for the Virus Shield app. They are also giving those users 5 dollars worth of Play Store credit. In their letter of apology, Google clarified Virus Shield’s false claims. Google restated their policies regarding fake apps to reassure Play Store customers.

Better Android Security Coming Soon

Android Security Verify AppsAndroid security against malicious apps is going to get better, Google says. The Android security feature Verify Apps is going to be upgraded. Verify Apps was released just last year but contains a flaw. Verify Apps was used to scan all Android apps. But users could also use this app to scan apps obtained from third parties.

Google now has two systems to promote Android security. On Google Play, the server side system provides Android security through app scanning of all uploaded apps. Verify Apps fights malware through local system app scans as they are sideloaded. This app scans for malicious code and processes. The new Verify Apps will also scan apps on a continuous basis instead of only when they are installed. This gives users better Android security for cases where malicious actions were not discovered at first.

Android users can expect the new Android security features in a few weeks. The update will apply to versions 2.3 and above. The new Android security feature is still opt-in only, as Verify Apps has always been. It is best for Android security that the feature be used, however. 76% of Android apps contain adware according to Opswat.