Google Play reveals major crack down on app store malware

Google Play Store
Image credit: Shutterstock (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google has announced plans to improve the way it verifies developers in an effort to curb malware that is currently rife on the Play Store, and to better control fraud and other suspicious activity.

Currently, Android app developers are required to provide legitimate email addresses and phone numbers to confirm identity, but the company has now announced plans to bring in mandatory D-U-N-S numbers.

At the same time, the Play Store will also undergo a UI tweak which is designed to show users more developer information, to help them make more informed choices.

Developer verification on Google Play

Organizations setting up a new Play Console developer account will now be required to share their unique nine-digit D-U-N-S number, assigned by Dun & Bradstreet, to verify their business. They may also need to share some company documentation for further approval, though Google did not stipulate in which circumstances this would be necessary.

Google did not immediately respond to TechRadar Pro’s request to comment on other account types beyond organizations, and whether they face any additional verification processes.

For end users, the ‘Contact details’ section in an app listing is set to be renamed ‘App support.’ Within this subheading, an ‘About the developer’ section will show certain verified identity information like name, address, and contact details.

New developer registrations will be subject to these changes from August 31, giving any malintent developers around six weeks to publish dodgy apps before they get subjected to more stringent rules.

Google says it will share more information with existing developer organizations in October, but it’s unclear how long they will have to provide a D-U-N-S number. Because getting one can take up to 30 days, sensible developers who don’t yet have their unique number should consider looking to register now to avoid penalties later on.

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!