Google has partnered with mobile security firms ESET, Lookout and Zimperium to combat the scourge of malicious Android apps that sneak into the Google Play app store.
The announcement came Wednesday, with each company confirming their part in the newly created App Defense Alliance. Google said it’s working with the companies to “stop bad apps before they reach users’ devices.”
The search giant has struggled to fight against malicious apps in recent years. Although apps are screened for malware and other malicious components before apps are allowed into Google Play, the search and mobile giant has been accused of not doing enough to weed out malicious apps before they make it to users’ devices.
Google said earlier this year that just 0.04% of all Android apps downloaded from Google Play were considered potentially harmful apps — or about 30 million potentially malicious apps.
Yet, it remains an ongoing problem.
ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium have all contributed to the discovery — and eventual takedown — of hundreds of malicious apps on Google Play in recent years.
But each time Google takes down a suspicious or malicious app from Google Play, the thousands or millions of users with the app installed on their phone remain vulnerable. The apps are not removed from devices, continuing to put users at risk.
By integrating its Google Play Protect technology, which serves as Android’s built-in antimalware engine, with each of its partners’ scanning engines, the collective effort will help to better screen apps before they are approved for users to download.
Google said that knowledge sharing and industry collaboration are “important” to combat rising mobile app threats.