Android phones are secure than ever. Some developers, though, are continuing to develop malicious apps. In a blog post, Google announced that nearly 600 apps were removed from the Play Store after violating its disruptive ads and disallowed interstitial policies. Google is making an ongoing effort to stop these kind of mobile application from entering the Google Play Store and distributed on a large number of smartphones and tablets. Google labels this as an industry-wide challenge harming advertisers and users.
Majority of the mobile application were targeting English-speaking users but originated out of Asia. Per Bjorke, Google’s Senior Product Manager for Ad Traffic Quality has also confirmed that more than 4.5 billion installations for these malicious apps. He refuse to take the name of any such app or their developer.
A publicly-traded company, Cheetah Mobile, reportedly had as many as 45 such apps that were removed from the Google Play Store. These apps are no longer listed in Google’s ad networks. The blog post from Google states that developers behind all these malicious apps will get banned from Ad Manager and AdMob. A lot of developers took similar action to deliver the ads, but Google isn’t sure if they engaged in a coordinated effort to trick the system. Perhaps details surrounding Google’s investigation will emerge at a later date.
The Mountain View-based company describes these ads as “displayed to users in unexpected ways” that impair or interfere with usability. These ads can appear in-app, but they’re also capable of surfacing while the user performs an action in another app. Google warns that full-screen pop-ups could get delivered while trying to make a call or follow turn-by-turn navigation.
Google’s existing technologies aren’t perfect, but it’ll design improvements that detect and prevent future threats. Recently, a machine learning-based solution rolled out. It also has dedicated teams tasked with identifying developers who attempt to defraud the ecosystem. So there’s a mixture of manual and automatic action while handling malicious apps and their developers. Users, meanwhile, can report apps to Google if they think there’s a violation.