Over 170K publisher accounts faced a ban from Google last year, amounting to millions of apps being removed from the Google Play Store in 2022.
This is a part of Google’s efforts to counter the growing menace of malicious apps on the world’s largest mobile app store.
According to Google’s blog post, the company blocked a staggering 1.43 million apps that violated Google’s policies from showing up on the Play Store.
Google claims this is part of its drive to improve security features, along with some policy upgrades as well as enhanced algorithms for machine learning.
As a part of this security drive, Google got rid of 173,000 “bad” accounts, which is estimated to have prevented almost $2 billion of fraudulent transactions.
To make it even tougher for threat actors to infiltrate the Play Store, new app developers on the platform have to set up verification with a phone, email, or other means.
Google says that it “continued to partner with [software developer kits] SDK providers to limit sensitive data access and sharing, enhancing the privacy posture for over one million apps on Google Play.”
Furthermore, the blog post added that through the “strengthened Android platform protections and policies, and developer outreach and education, we prevented about 500,000 submitted apps from unnecessarily accessing sensitive permissions over the past 3 years.“
In total, the company claims that over the last three years, its efforts to make the Android platform security and standards more robust have prevented almost 500,000 apps from asking for and accessing sensitive rights.
These apps were submitted for inclusion in the Google Play Store.
Google deleted almost 500,000 dormant or abandoned developer accounts in 2021, restricted 1.2 million policy-violating apps, and banned 190,000 accounts connected to spammy and harmful developers.
Google also collaborated to create new app license requirements to combat app impersonation and further extended the App Defense Alliance to “protect Android users from bad apps through shared intelligence and coordinated detection.”
Major antivirus providers like McAfee, Trend Micro, ESET, and Lookout support the App Defense Alliance.