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What’s the deal with Android’s new security suite ‘Google Play Protect’?
When you’ve got 2 billion devices running your software, security is never likely to be far from your thoughts. The Android platform is a juicy target for potential scammers, but Google so far seems to have dealt with threats quickly and efficiently (given the scope of the platform, you understand). Google already has a number of security measures in place to help keep its smartphones safe, and yesterday, it revealed the next step in Android defense: Google Play Protect.
Google Play Protect is a security package for Android devices consisting of app scanning, browser protection, and anti-theft measures. The app scanning feature is actually built into any device that comes with the Google Play Store — it doesn’t need to be installed or activated separately and it doesn’t need any manual input to work. This is an always-on service, said to scan 50 billion apps per day across a billion Android devices to ensure they are safe.
Of course, Google makes attempts to verify app security at the point at which they are uploaded to the Play Store too, but this alone does not guarantee eternal safety. And so, Google also makes use of daily scans and machine learning algorithms to help stay one step ahead of any potential threats; if it does encounter a malicious app, it can disable it to prevent further problems.
Essentially, it seems like this Google Play Protect is the new collective name for its major security protocols — the process mentioned above appears to be just Google’s existing Verify Apps service, while safe browsing in the Chrome browser and anti-theft via the Android Device Manger have been around for a while, too.
There are a couple of new additions rolling out with Google Play Protect in the coming weeks, however. You’ll soon be able to manually scan an app you’ve downloaded to check it’s still safe and secure like seen in the GIF below.
Further, Google has replaced the Android Device Manager with a new app called “Find My Device.” Like the Device Manager, this can locate lost or stolen devices and remotely lock them or erase data, but it has a brand new design and comes with a couple of additional features — find it at the Play Store here.
Of course, none of Google’s inbuilt safety measures are an excuse to use your device carelessly — you should always be mindful of security. And since you’re probably more likely to lose or have your phone stolen than become a victim of a malware attack — I’d recommend getting on board with Find My Device.