Android smartphones are extremely popular. In fact, statistics show that globally, nine in 10 smartphones are running various versions of Android.
However, due to their sheer numbers, Android phones are increasingly targeted with mobile malware and these attacks are mounting fast. Although the Google Play Store is still the safest source of Android apps, rogue apps still manage to slip through the cracks, eluding Google's screening process. Google, of course, wants to change that.
To further help protect users against malicious apps, Google is rolling out the Google Play Protect to Android devices running the Google Mobile Services 11 and later.
Google Play Protect is designed to work in the background, protecting users from malicious apps in real time. First, it scans and verifies any app that is available in the Google Play Store. Then it will continue scanning installed apps for any changes in behavior and warn you about any security dangers they might pose.
Even better, Google Play Protect will not only safeguard you from malicious Google Play apps but it will also monitor and scan apps downloaded from third-party sources. Not only that, it will use Google's machine learning expertise to improve detection.
Other security features include Chrome Safe Browsing that monitors webpages for malicious activity and the incorporation of Find My Device, Google's way of locating, locking and erasing a lost Android gadget.
Will this stop malicious apps in the Google Play Store? Well, with its real-time monitoring and updates, it certainly will be a huge help in containing malicious apps before they spread.
How to check for Google Play Protect
First, make sure you have the latest update installed on your Android gadget. To check for updates: open Settings >> tap About phone >> tap System updates >> tap Check for updates. If there is one available it will download automatically, you just need to restart the device for it to install.
To check if Google Play Protect is on, navigate to Settings >> Google >> Security >> Google Play Protect (may also show up as Verify Apps in some phones) then make sure it's toggled on.
That's it. Once it's on, Google Play Protect will constantly monitor your device for threats and check for any update on its own.