Google prevents 2.28 million policy-violating apps from being published on Google Play in 2023

Google announced on Tuesday that it successfully prevented 2.28 million policy-violating apps from being published on Google Play in 2023. 

In an effort to maintain the integrity of the platform, Google also rejected 200,000 app submissions due to doubts about the use of sensitive permissions such as background location or SMS access. According to a blog post authored by Steve Kafka and Khawaja Shams from the Android Security and Privacy Team, and Mohet Saxena from Play Trust and Safety, Google’s investments in review tooling and processes have led to more effective identification of bad actors and fraud rings, resulting in the banning of 333,000 bad accounts from Play.

Google emphasizes that its SAFE principles are designed to protect users from the dangers of installing unsecured apps. The acronym SAFE stands for “Safeguard our users, Advocate for developer protection, Foster responsible innovation, and Evolve platform defenses”. 

Moreover, Google collaborated with software developer kit (SDK) providers to limit sensitive data access and sharing, affecting 31 SDKs and nearly 800,000 apps. The company is also looking to build on this success with the App Defense Alliance (ADA), in partnership with Microsoft and Meta. The ADA aims to promote industry-wide adoption of app security best practices and guidelines, as well as countermeasures against emerging security risks.

As part of its efforts to enhance transparency and user safety, Google introduced new Play Store transparency labeling to highlight VPN apps that have completed an independent security review through the App Defense Alliance’s Mobile App Security Assessment (MASA). This means that when users search for VPN apps, they will see a banner at the top of Google Play that educates them about the “Independent security review” badge in the Data safety section, allowing them to easily identify apps prioritizing security and privacy best practices.

Additionally, Google has strengthened Google Play Protect’s security capabilities with real-time scanning at the code-level to combat various security threats effectively. With these measures in place, Google remains committed to maintaining a secure and trustworthy ecosystem for Android users worldwide.

Written by Jordan Bevan


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