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October 15, 2012

Google Play Malware Scanner Currently Under Construction

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Android (News - Alert) and malware have had their share of problems recently, but Google isn't taking the reports about malware on their mobile platform lying down. According to reports, Google (News - Alert) is currently in the process of building a malware scanner for their Google Play app store in a bid to stem the rising tide of malware on the system and give users a better overall experience.

The reports were based around the string of the Android application package, which included some strings like "package_malware_banner_warning" and "package_malware_title", along with some related warnings, were found. Additionally, this discovery came hot on the heels of a report from Trend Micro (News - Alert), released earlier this year, about how malware levels on the system were likely to swell to what the report called "a malware pandemic" by the fourth quarter of 2012, which of course, has already begun.

Image via Shutterstock

There are, at last report, two parts to the malware scanner. The first is what's called an "App Check" service that inspects all the applications currently installed on a device for malware. While that is useful enough in its own right, the second part of the service, a kind of "doorman" system, provides warning for users that the app about to be downloaded either may pose a threat to the device, or has previously been flagged as a suspicious app. Since Google recently acquired VirusTotal, a company that deals in online malware scanning software, it's a safe bet that some of that technology either already has found or eventually will find its way into the new system.

Google certainly has a vested interest in keeping app users as safe from viruses and malware as possible. Until HTML5 gets going in earnest, Google depends on regular traffic to Google Play to get users buying apps, and in turn, keeping vital cash funneling into Google's coffers. The better a job Google can do of keeping malware out of the equation, the better overall the user experience will be. The better the user experience proves to be, well, it's just a short hop from there to success for Android, which has already done something some would consider impossible in the form of competing with iOS and having at least sufficient success to remain a market force.

Keeping Android in the game depends on that user experience, and the better a job Google can do keeping malware out of the picture, the better the results for all concerned.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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