On Android, the number of apps requesting access to calls and texts has dropped by 98%

In a short post, Google talks about the fruits of its efforts to secure the Play Store and Android applications in 2019. The giant notably highlights the results of its recent policy to combat abusive permission requests.

Each year, Google promises to make its Play Store and the environment around Android applications safer, and announces for this purpose a handful of axes on which it wishes to work. In 2018, the issue of often abusive permissions requested by many applications integrated this list of priorities, and it is therefore very logically that the firm decided to significantly tighten its policy in this regard.

Concretely, Google modified the rules of submission of the Play Store so that the developers stick to the permissions really necessary. And after a full year under this new regime, the giant proudly displays the result. “We have seen a significant 98% decrease in applications accessing SMS data and the call log, he explains in a post. The remaining 2% is made up of applications that require SMS data and the call log to perform their main function. ”

Everything is fine, we take care of everything

Naturally, Google has also tightened the screw for other types of potentially intrusive permissions, but no other figure is cited. However, the firm wants to show that it also tightens security in general with regard to developers' access to its application store. His “Improved control mechanisms stopped more than 790,000 submissions of rules-breaking applications before they were even published on the Play Store”.

Since last spring, children are also supposedly better protected. Developers must indeed indicate if an application is aimed at young people, with specific rules for the key, which led to an update or deletion “Tens of thousands of applications” in less than a year.

The Google Play Protect device, which scans all applications at each installation, was also entitled to an improved version in 2019. According to Google, it now reviews more than 100 billion applications per day and “Last year, Google Play Protect prevented more than 1.9 billion malware installations from sources other than Google Play”.

Unsurprisingly, Google focuses in its post on the positive aspects of its balance sheet. The giant admits that there will always be improvements to be made in terms of security, but is careful not to mention cases of flaws discovered in applications already present on the Play Store. In a figure of style that has become a real tradition, he promises again this year to put the necessary means to “Strengthen application security policies to protect user privacy”, become faster in its “Detection of bad actors” and in the “Blocking repeat offenders”, as well as to improve “Detecting and removing applications with harmful content and behavior”.

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