When it comes to security, Google is very aware that the Android Operating System is not the safest mobile OS in the smartphone industry, and is doing whatever it can in order to maintain its user base. With over 80% of mobile users using Android phones, Google cannot afford to lose its dominance.
So much has been said about insecurity on Android devices, and the Tech giant is aware of the main weakness of its Android Os and is trying to up its game by rolling out security patches on a regular basis, and now it has taken another positive step by releasing its first ever Android Ecosystem Security Transparency Report.
But what the heck is Android Ecosystem Security Transparency Report?
Android being an open system, the Android security team has moved a step further by committing itself not only to report the Android security bulletin but also any features, news, updates, and enhancement.
So Android Ecosystem Security Transparency Report is specifically focused to report details and effort by Google in trying to reduce Potentially Harmful Applications (PHA), on both the Play Store and Android devices.
This comes after more complaints are pouring from different Android users and governments demand answers on user data usage policy. Another factor which has demanded Google immediate response is the ever increase in hacking cases in recent years. Hacking cases almost doubled between 2017 and 2018.
The report is aimed at giving a clear insight of how policies are affecting security, privacy, and access to information, and will include the information on how Google Play Protect frequently scans Android devices and Google Play Store for PHAs.
These reports will be made quarterly and will be made public for users to see how Google Play Protect full scans helps in detecting PHAs on different devices and Google Play Protect.
Google Play Protect scans over 50 billion Applications from Play Store and outside Play store, every day. The report features data from both ends, According to the recent report by Google on PHAs, there are more malicious Applications in third-party sites than there are on Google Play Store.
The report also focuses on different rates of PHAs on different Android versions, countries and market segments.
Overall, stats show that the rate of malicious Apps found on the Google Play store and the Android devices has reasonably declined since 2014. This is mainly because of the steps that were taken by Google year in and year out to make sure Android OS is safe for users.
The positive change is also attributed to the introduction of Google Play Protect in May 2017 and the steps being taken by the search giant in ensuring privacy and security, like rolling out of monthly security patches.
As per the report, there was a decline in PHAs from 0.09% in 2017 to 0.08% in 2018.
So, In short, this data means in 2017, 0.09% devices were installed with one or two, PHAs downloaded from Google Play store
According to Google, there were over 2 billion devices in 2017, so the number of devices which were affected were 0.09% 0f 2 billion, which is 1,8 million. That was still a great number. But considering the huge number of devices out there, it is a reasonable percentage
Google also stated that there are fewer PHAs on Android phones with the latest versions as than those with the older versions, this is attributed to security patches and ongoing Developer training on restricting access to sensitive data.
Android phones running on versions like Nougat, Oreo and Android Pie has been seen to be more resilient to PHAs attacks.
The report also stated that India witnessed a significant decline in PHAs on devices, with a 34% decline rate. Other countries which witnessed a reasonable decline were Mexico, Turkey, and Indonesia.
South Korea had the least devices with PHAs, with 0, 1% only. You can read Android Ecosystem Security Transparency Report here