These Are The Mobile Security Threats You Need To Take Seriously

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Internet giant Google has released its all year awaited Android Security & Privacy Year in Review report for the year 2018. The report addresses the state of the Android ecosystem in terms of known vulnerabilities and potential threats. It also addresses how Google’s latest features and improvements have affected privacy and security for end users.

According to Google’s announcement of the report, the highlights of this year are how new Google Play Protect features have addressed risks, the detection of potentially harmful applications, updates on Google’s vulnerability rewards programme and overall platform security enhancements.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Android operating system. Google says it has made massive investments in security and privacy technology. The biggest finding of the report is that only 0.08 percent of devices on which apps were downloaded only through the Google Play Store were affected by potentially harmful applications (PHAs).

Google Play Protect scans over 500,000 apps every day using machine learning techniques in the cloud. It is now enabled by default on all new Android devices. Google also helps manufacturers scan their Android builds before shipping potentially compromised phones. Specifically regarding India, which is “by far the biggest market” for Android, according to the report. India also ceased having the highest rate of PHA issues, with Indonesia taking over.

The most common threats in India were a video app that mines cryptocurrency in the background, and various Trojans and backdoors pre-installed in your mobile devices. India is also the biggest targets for Trojans at 22.4 percent, followed by Germany at 6.5 percent. About 0.007 percent of all app installs and 16 percent of all PHA installs through Google Play were infected with Trojans in 2018.

For app installations from outside Google Play, India accounted for 27.7 % of trojan activity. The next biggest threat is SMS fraud, which comprised 0.003 percent of Google Play app installs and 6.8 percent of PHAs. India is not as highly targeted, with only 2.1 percent of such threats being directed here. Google says that as of October 2018, an app cannot even ask for SMS permissions in Android unless the user has set it as his or her default SMS app.

Google says that no security flaws compromised its Pixel series devices in 2018, and there were no major security threats for the Android platform that became known before the company had already managed to develop mitigation.

Google regularly rewards outside researchers and security enthusiasts who detect and report potential threats and tighten security. According to the report, Google has now paid out over $3 million in reward payouts. The company says it has partnerships with several research firms and conducts competitions to help surface potential threats.


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