Google launches Android Bouncer

2012-02-06 09:23

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Cape Town - Google has announced its "Bouncer" service which scans for malicious software on Android smartphones amid a massive spike in use of the phones.

"Here's how it works: Once an application is uploaded, the service immediately starts analysing it for known malware, spyware and trojans. It also looks for behaviours that indicate an application might be misbehaving, and compares it against previously analysed apps to detect possible red flags," Hiroshi Lockheimer, Android vice-president of engineering wrote on the Google blog.

Google has come out fighting suggestions that its Android platform poses a security threat to smartphones.

In November, cyber security firm McAfee warned of a growing risk of malware and viruses targeting users of smartphones running on Google's Android operating system.

Malware threats

McAfee said that their statistics showed a 37% increase in malware targeting the operating system that powers the majority of smartphones in the US.

"Yes, virus companies are playing on your fears to try to sell you bs protection software for Android, RIM and iOS. They are charlatans and scammers," wrote Chris DiBona, open source program manager for Google.

Lockheimer admitted that the company was committed to fighting malware threats.

"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," he said.

Google is trying to reassure consumers, and particularly business users, that its Android platform is secure so as to lure corporate users to Google services.

Recently, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion trumpeted the security certification of its BlackBerry 7 operating system.

It was awarded the FIPS 140-2 certification by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Communications Security Establishment of Canada as well as the evaluation assurance level 4+.

Google's Bouncer allows additional functionality of the Android market to remove malware applications from a smart device, and users can choose what permissions to allow for applications, including limiting access to SMS.


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