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Google Says Android is Secure and has the Stats to back it Up

News by Luke Jones on Friday April 03, 2015.

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Google has revealed its Android Security State of the Union 2014, a report that gives us the hard facts and statistics about the security of the company's mobile operating system. The reports is lengthy, but Google basically says that Android is safe, something that has been called into question numerous times.

The company says that Google Play carries out 200 million security scans every single day on device and more than 1 billion Android devices are protected. If those numbers hold up it means just about the entire Android device base. Android has often been described as unsecure, but Google has said in the past that it is hard to ensure safety when the platform goes to so many third party OEM's. The Search giant says that when it leaves Google Android is 100% secure.

The company says that less than 1% of Android devices downloaded an app it lists as PHA (Potentially Harmful App), which is a solid record overall but still represents some 10 million devices. Clearly there is room for improvement, but proof that it is better to go through the Google Play Store as only .15% of devices installed a PHA last year when installing through the Google Play Store. That?s around 1.5 million android devices and Google says that rate declined 50% through the second half of 2014.

Android offers an application-focused platform security model rooted in a strong application sandbox. We also use data to improve security in near real time through a combination of reliable products and trusted services, like Google Play, and Verify Apps. And, because we are an open platform, third-party research and reports help make us stronger and users safer.

But, every now and then we like to check in to see how we're doing. So, we?ve been working hard on a report that analyzes billions (!) of data points gathered every day during 2014 and provides comprehensive and in-depth insight into security of the Android ecosystem. We hope this will help us share our approaches and data-driven decisions with the security community in order to keep users safer and avoid risk.

It's lengthy, so if you've only got a minute, we pulled out a few of the key findings here:

Over 1 billion devices are protected with Google Play which conducts 200 million security scans of devices per day.

Fewer than 1% of Android devices had a Potentially Harmful App (PHA) installed in 2014. Fewer than 0.15% of devices that only install from Google Play had a PHA installed.

The overall worldwide rate of Potentially Harmful Application (PHA) installs decreased by nearly 50% between Q1 and Q4 2014.

SafetyNet checks over 400 million connections per day for potential SSL issues.

Android and Android partners responded to 79 externally reported security issues, and over 25,000 applications in Google Play were updated following security notifications from Google Play.

We want to ensure that Android is a safe place, and this report has helped us take a look at how we did in the past year, and what we can still improve on. In 2015, we have already announced that we are are being even more proactive in reviewing applications for all types of policy violations within Google Play. Outside of Google Play, we have also increased our efforts to enhance protections for specific higher-risk devices and regions.

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About the author

Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at degree level before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news, as well as overseeing the site's content and direction.

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