Android Security Update - Bouncer

Android Security Update - Bouncer
Remember the Android Market Security Update from Google last year? We learned that a number of malicious applications published to Android Market have been removed, and the associated developer accounts have been suspended. As a follow-up to the report, Google has recently announced that the company is getting better at improving its Android Security. The Mountain View California- based Google has added a new layer to Android security. A new service they’ve developed, codenamed Bouncer, now provides automated scanning of Android Market for potentially malicious software without disrupting the user experience of Android Market or requiring developers to go through an application approval process. The service has been looking for malicious apps in Market for a while now, and between the first and second halves of 2011, Google claims a 40% decrease in the number of potentially-malicious downloads from Android Market.

How the so called "Bouncer" works?
According to the search giant, 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. They 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. Google also analyze new developer accounts to help prevent malicious and repeat-offending developers from coming back.

According to Google Mobile Blog, some of Android's core security features are:
+ 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.

Last but not least, Google says that no security approach is foolproof, and they are glad their systems are getting better at detecting and eliminating malware every day, and Google continues to invite the community to work with them to keep Android safe.
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