Google working on Android malware scanner for Play Store

Google Play
Google's working on a malware scanner for your Android device

Android malware may be on the rise, but that doesn't mean that Google has to sit back and wait for its customer base to be affected. A closer look at the most recent update to the Play Store reveals Google has been developing its own malware scanner for Android devices.

The team over at Android Police got up close and intimate with the latest APK release of the Google Play Store and discovered something called "App Check" within the code, which has every indication of being a device-side malware scanner for the Android platform.

From the code, it appears that App Check will serve a couple of functions. Firstly, it will scan all your pre-installed apps to check that nothing on your phone or tablet is doing something dodgy under your nose.

The second component of the scanner will be to check new installations, and block them from being installed if they contain malware. If that sounds a little too restrictive, it looks as though you will get the option to override any preventative measures the malware scanner makes.

Further indications of the malware scanner in the code of the Play Store include images of a shield, and exclamation marks on triangles, which indicate the "All-good" and "Oh no!" results of a scan respectively.

Protecting the future

While evidence of the scanner is available in the current version of the Play Store code, it's important to note that it hasn't yet rolled out as a fully functioning feature. Instead, it's likely to be there for future updates to the Play Store.

When it does launch, it will work hand in hand with Google's server-side malware protection for the Play Store, known as "Bouncer".

Given Bouncer can only protect apps that are delivered through the Play Store directly, and does nothing to protect from malware delivered from legitimate websites, the introduction of a device-side scanner is a positive move from Google and the Android platform as a whole.

Via: Android Police

Having spent the past decade editing some of Australia's leading technology publications, Nick's passion for the latest gadgetry is matched only by his love of watching Australia beat England in the rugby.