Increased scrutiny of Android security prompts firm to reveal quiet policing of Android Market malware.

Google describes ‘Bouncer’ Android anti-malware system

Google has unveiled a security feature built into the internet giant’s app publishing system for Android codenamed Bouncer, which targets malicious apps.

In contrast to the approach taken by Apple, Google’s refusal to act as a ‘gatekeeper’ for Android app publishing has resulted in a great deal of malicious apps appearing on the Android Market, some masquerading as popular downloads.

The security ramifications of Google’s approach have been in the limelight lately and perhaps that’s why Google is now describing the ‘Bouncer’ system which they say has been in operation "for a while now."

The Google Bouncer service is an approach more like traditional anti-virus software only it runs on Google’s servers instead.

Google engineering veep Hiroshi Lockheimer said that the post-install ‘automated scanning’ of Bouncer will not disrupt the user while also not requiring Android developers from going through an application approval process.

"Once an application is uploaded, the service immediately starts analyzing it for known malware, spyware and trojans," wrote Lockheimer on the Google mobile blog.

"It also looks for behaviors that indicate an application might be misbehaving, and compares it against previously analyzed apps to detect possible red flags."

Lockheimer said that last year Google reckons there was a 40 per cent fall in "potentially-malicious downloads" between the first and second half of last year, intimating that the company has been quietly policing the Marketplace since the middle of last year.

"No security approach is foolproof, and added scrutiny can often lead to important improvements. Our systems are getting better at detecting and eliminating malware every day, and we continue to invite the community to work with us to keep Android safe."

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