Earlier this year, we reported on a new initiative by Google called Play Protect. It has the objective of not only protecting Android users from malware and other threats, but also seeks to give them an easy to understand interface where they can manage their security needs. The application has already started to show up on devices running Google Play Services 11.
Google recently announced that future certified devices will not only have the application installed by default, but will also carry the Play Protect logo on their retail packaging, as a way to assure customers that the device they are about to invest in will give them the most secure experience possible. Although Play Protect can't prevent users from sideloading apps, it acts as an anti-malware 'firewall' that will notify the user if they are about to install a malicious app, and in some cases, disable or uninstall it by default.
We provide hundreds of tests to ensure certified devices adhere to the Android security and permissions model and have software builds with recent security updates. Certified devices are also required to dispatch without pre-installed malware and include Google Play Protect, a suite of security features such as automatic virus scanning and Find My Device. This provides baseline protection against malware, privacy hacks and more.
This should not be confused with the 'Microsoft Signature Edition Logo' that can be found on specific hardware sold through the Microsoft Store, and offers users a device without the usual clutter that has been associated with Windows PC's, preventing security threats and performance degradation that comes with 'bloatware'. Play Protect is more about providing a secure environment, than it is about providing a clutter-free experience - that's what stock Android is for. This means that Play Protect doesn't guarantee that OEMs won't be pre-installing device-specific applications; for instance, Samsung and its own app store, dubbed Galaxy Apps.
Android has had several issues with malware since its inception, mainly due to the open nature of the operation system. In 2015, 2.1 million users fell victim to malicious applications in the Play Store, and ransomware attacks have grown by 50% in the last year alone. It would seem that Google has taken this threat seriously, and the latest initiative can be seen as a step in the right direction.
Source and image: Google India Blog