If you’re looking to have the tightest security possible when it comes to your Google account, the company’s Advanced Protection service is what you need. Thanks to some new updates Google is rolling out today, the service is going to be even more locked-down than before.
There are two primary changes coming to Advanced Protection starting now. They are both pretty simple changes, but they should make enrolled Google accounts even safer when it comes to malware, hackers, and other nefarious attacks.
The first change to Advanced Protection is that Play Protect — the service that uses machine learning to scan the millions of apps on the Google Play Store for malware — will now be turned on by default with no way to turn it off. Previously, the service did not require this function, but now it will going forward.
The second change to Advanced Protection is a much bigger deal. Starting today, users with Android smartphones will no longer be able to install apps from outside the Google Play Store. This means APKs you can download from the internet simply won’t install on smartphones enrolled in the Advanced Protection service.
There are a few exceptions to this. Apps downloaded from approved app stores — such as the Samsung Galaxy Apps store, for example — will still work as will apps installed through the Android Debug Bridge (ADB). Apps already on your phone will continue to work and receive updates, but no new apps will be able to be installed.
Anyone can enroll in Advanced Protection to keep their Google account locked down. If you have an Android phone running Android 7.0 Nougat or higher, you’ve got everything you need to enroll for free. If you don’t, you’ll need to buy some physical security keys to get started. Learn more about this here.