Google is taking new steps to ensure Android users are protected from malware and other harmful apps.
The company announced Thursday it is expanding its app verification service to monitor all the apps on users’ devices — including those downloaded from the Google Play Store
Previously, when the Verify Apps service was enabled, only apps from third-party app stores were scanned, and only upon installation. Now Verify Apps will check every app before it is installed — and will regularly check that all of a user’s installed apps are “behaving in a safe manner.”
“Because potentially harmful applications are very rare, most people will never see a warning or any other indication that they have this additional layer of protection,” said Android security engineer Rich Cannings in a blog post. “But we do expect a small number of people to see warnings (which look similar to the existing Verify apps warnings) as a result of this new capability.”
Google already has a system, codenamed “Bouncer,” that analyzes each app uploaded to the Google Play Store for malware. But this service doesn’t check apps from third-party stores or applications that have already been downloaded.
The Verify Apps setting, found under the security settings menu on most versions of Android, is enabled by default on Android smartphones and tablets.