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Google Introduces “Bouncer” Security Service for Android: Shows Massive Drop in Malicious Downloads, Calls Out Anti-Malware Companies

Moments ago, Google unveiled a security service that has been working behind the scenes on Android for a few months now, codenamed Bouncer. The service allows the Android Market to scan apps that have been uploaded, analyze them for trojans or other malware, and then determine if they have tendencies that would lead them to misbehave. Again, this has been going on for months to protect you, Google is just now letting you know about how successful it has been. 

Here is the full explanation from Google:

The service performs a set of analyses on new applications, applications already in Android Market, and developer accounts. Here’s how it works: once an application is uploaded, the service immediately starts analyzing it for known malware, spyware and trojans. It also looks for behaviors that indicate an application might be misbehaving, and compares it against previously analyzed apps to detect possible red flags. We actually run every application on Google’s cloud infrastructure and simulate how it will run on an Android device to look for hidden, malicious behavior. We also analyze new developer accounts to help prevent malicious and repeat-offending developers from coming back.

Also in this announcement for Bouncer, Google managed to take a shot at the anti-spyware and security companies that you hear from constantly in the Android world. During their testing of this new security service, Android Market stats showed a 40% drop in potentially malicious apps being downloaded during 2011. That comes on the heels of numerous reports from anti-spyware companies that malware is constantly on the rise, something many of us have questioned all along.

Here is the exact quote:

The service has been looking for malicious apps in Market for a while now, and between the first and second halves of 2011, we saw a 40% decrease in the number of potentially-malicious downloads from Android Market. This drop occurred at the same time that companies who market and sell anti-malware and security software have been reporting that malicious applications are on the rise. While it’s not possible to prevent bad people from building malware, the most important measurement is whether those bad applications are being installed from Android Market – and we know the rate is declining significantly.

Lastly, Google wants to make sure you understand how Android works on the security front and that it has been designed to make malware less potent. Some of the security measures include:

  • Sandboxing: The Android platform uses a technique called “sandboxing” to put virtual walls between applications and other software on the device. So, if you download a malicious application, it can’t access data on other parts of your phone and its potential harm is drastically limited.
  • Permissions: Android provides a permission system to help you understand the capabilities of the apps you install, and manage your own preferences. That way, if you see a game unnecessarily requests permission to send SMS, for example, you don’t need to install it.
  • Malware removal: Android is designed to prevent malware from modifying the platform or hiding from you, so it can be easily removed if your device is affected. Android Market also has the capability of remotely removing malware from your phone or tablet, if required.

Feeling safer already?

Via:  Google Mobile

Cheers for the pic MrChips!

  • Anonymous

    : Wow.. I knew Google had to be in the background somehow protecting it’s reputation. It would be too much of a public blow to allow something bad to happen in it’s Martket.

  • ddevito

    Thank You Google.

    Hope the iSheep are reading this

  • Legendsoftroy

    Hey Kellex, do you recommend antispyware like Lookout?  I have used it for the most part but not sure if its even doing anything…  well atleast I will be able to find my phone if I loose it *crosses fingers*

  • @cc5911f44c78a2c27b65482a67246d25:disqus ..my neighbor’s aunt made $7,385 last month. she works on the internet and drives a Mercedes-Benz. All she did was get lucky and follow the information you can find here..http://ao.co.za/67AV4S

  • webby

    Google took a little break from collecting data on all of us and did something really good.  Credit where credit is due …

  • Its like wearing 2 condoms every time baby – I mean no baby here…..

  • JagQpopZ24

    Have gone through 5 android phones and no malicious anything has infected any of them. 

    Got an iPad 2- account got hacked by some a-hole and bought/downloaded a few apps on my dime. 
    Even the walled garden that Apple conjured up is vulnerable in different ways than android.
    Still can’t figure out how my apple account got hacked.

    Common sense goes a long way when it comes to anything connected to the web.  We as users have to do our part (permissions, read reviews, don’t download shady apps), it is nice to know that Google is trying to do there’s.

  • Jamdev12

    For most users this is fine and dandy, but users here have to understand that if you have a rooted Android phone, an app you’ve installed that may contain malware, may request access to root which in essence if you reply allow, you just f’ed yourself. So sure permissions and sand boxing work great for the average user, but users like you and me need to know the consequences of rooting a phone. As said many times, with great power comes great responsibility.

    • J Christ007

      I wonder if that is the reason my 1st 2 Galaxy Nexus devices had to be returned? I had 2 with the exact same issue. They would reboot themselves and get stuck at the boot animation screen and keep repeating the process until the phone died. I was beyond frustrated and embarrassed since I vouch so hard for Google vs Apple. The 3rd one is apparently the charm. The only program I had installed on the 1st 2 was the Light Flow app for the LED notifications. I haven’t installed it on this one and I don’t plan on it.

      • Mike Waterbury

        the Galaxy Nexus had known issues with rebooting randomly after it first got released, and more than likely a dalvik cache / cache wipe would have cleared your bootloop issues.  Lightflow had nothing to do with either of those issues.

  • Only this actually makes Google look bad: there were numerous instances of malware getting on to Android Market that stayed for days before it was pulled, so it’s clearly not catching everything.

    Also, the whole problem with permissions has been that they’re like the security nag boxes in Windows Vista: people often don’t look at them at all before choosing to install the app.

    Good that Google’s been taking active steps, but don’t let them trick you into thinking that nothing is wrong.

    • df2rools

      apparently you didn’t read what they wrote.

      “While it’s not possible to prevent bad people from building malware, the most important measurement is whether those bad applications are being installed from Android Market – and we know the rate is declining significantly.”

      declining significantly, they cant prevent people from creating malware, but are taking good steps to make sure its LESS. never said nothing is wrong.

      good day.

      • No, that’s just them trying to frame the argument a certain way.  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, says the Wizard of Oz!

        It’s good to see the rate go down, but of course we don’t know what the infection rate is; they’re also describing “potentially” malicious apps, not real damage.  So you could have fewer risks, but not necessarily fewer actual infections.

        Also, it’s a cop-out to say “no system is foolproof” when non-jailbroken iOS devices have a zero-infection track record.  You get some freedom on Android, but there’s certainly a way to get a near-perfect result; Google just doesn’t want to go that route.

        • Anonymous

          “non-jailbroken iOS devices have a zero-infection track record”

          If you want to successfully troll, you have to leave out the ridiculous.

  • Thats another win for the G-men…… Kind of like what’s gonna happen this weekend, suck it Tom Brady!

    • I see what you did there. Nice.

    • angermeans

      Yes if there is a person that I hate in football it is certainly Tom Brady. Then again Im not a fan of the Giants as well. I was hoping for a Ravens vs Niners SuperBowl. This is the first Super Bowl I’ve considered missing in 20 years (I wont miss it though)

      • Noyfb123

        Ravens vs Niners, would have been epic.  Now the game is gonna suck almost as bad as Geriatric Madonna doing the half time show.

        The best part of this superbowl will be the commercials

      • im pretty much at the same point, im weighing disc golf and beer or superbowl and beer…. decisions decisions  

  • Van Hicks, Jr

    Should have given the muscle guy some android antennas, lol.

  • Neato.

    • Anonymous

      You’ve been saving that one a while haven’t you. Haha.

      • It’s weird man, I just have slap bracelets on the mind today!

  • Once again Google shines a light on truth rather then misleading B.S.

  • Greg Morgan

    Great stuff, shows google does pay attention and does care about it.

    • Still sounds like they also have work to do, but I’m sure they are sick of hearing about “MILLIONS OF ANDROID USERS WITH MALWARE!” from all of these ridiculous security companies.

      • Greg Morgan

        True, but in this day in age, your work is never finished when it comes to this stuff.

  • Thanks a lot Google. You Da Man!

  • Anonymous

    Good Lookin Out Google!