The new partnership initiative is called the App Defense Alliance. With 2.5 billion Android smartphones, Play Store has become an attractive target for malware abuse. Hackers are creating apps with hidden malware or secret code designed to spy on users or steal user data. The open ecosystem of Android makes it relatively easier for malware to sneak in.
In an official statement, Google said, “We’re excited to take this collaboration to the next level, announcing a partnership between Google, ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium. It’s called the App Defense Alliance and together, we’re working to stop bad apps before they reach users’ devices. Working closely with our industry partners gives us an opportunity to collaborate with some truly talented researchers in our field and the detection engines they’ve built. This is all with the goal of, together, reducing the risk of app-based malware, identifying new threats, and protecting our users.”
The three companies that Google is partnering with include ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium. All the three companies have done extensive research on Android malware over the years. They also have existing relationship with Google to report problems that they find. Now they will be using Google’s scanning and malware detection tools to evaluate Play Store submissions before the app is published.
Google has strict contracts with all its vendors that cover the analysis load they will handle on day to day basis. However they will secure the data and use special API. There is no guarantee that this program will completely fix Google’s malware problem but it is worth a try considering how challenging it is to monitor malicious apps in app stores.