Google has blocked 173,000 malicious developers and fraud rings, preventing over $2 billion in fraudulent and abusive transactions, the company said in its security blog post.

In 2022 Google prevented 1.43 million policy-violating apps from being published on Google Play. The Google Play Commerce security team also blocked fraudulent and abusive transactions that could’ve led to more than $2 billion in losses.

The US tech giant also said it is also making it harder for malicious developers to get their software published on its Play store.

Over the year, Google also updated its Play Store to include a Data Safety section that details how apps collect, share, and secure users’ data. And it has removed large amounts of bad accounts and added phone, email, and other identity verification methods.

This process has helped them reduce the number of accounts used to publish apps that violate its policies.

Google has also been working on making the Android ecosystem safe for users. They have created stronger Android platform protections and policies that have prevented a large number of apps from accessing sensitive permissions over the past three years. Further, Google has launched an App Security Improvements program that has helped fix security issues that impact thousands of apps.

A Helpline pilot was launched in 2022 to give developers assistance on policy queries.  A new Google Play Developer Community is also in pilot, which will provide a platform for developers to discuss policy and more.

Unfortunately, despite all these efforts, malicious apps continue to make their way onto the Play store.

Google says,”Keeping Google Play safe for users and developers remains a top priority for Google. Google Play Protect continues to scan billions of installed apps each day across billions of Android devices to keep users safe from threats like malware and unwanted software.”

Source:  Cyber Security Intelligence