Thursday, February 02, 2012

Google's new 'Bouncer' service automatically scans the Android Market for malware, bounces out malicious apps, developers

One of the positives, and at the same time negatives, of Google's Android Market has been the "anything goes" style of app acceptance into the Market. That's been criticized more and more, as more malware writers target the Market with infected apps, some of them taking legit apps and lacing them with trojans.

Google has come up with a fix that doesn't go as far as Apple or (for its Appstore), meaning as far as curating apps, but at the same time cures the Market of its "Wild Wild West" problems. It's called Bouncer.

Bouncer is a service that Google has been working on for some time. Just announced on Thursday, Bouncer scans the Android Market for potentially malicious software automatically. With Bouncer, Google can protect users against malware while still removing the (some call draconian) application approval process of the App Store from the equation.

To detect malicious software, Google looks for known signatures as any antivirus might do, but also runs apps on a simulator in the cloud. The company also analyzes new developer accounts to help prevent repeat-offenders from returning.

What's interesting, though, is that Google said that Bouncer has been running silently, sans publicity, for some time. The company was vague, and said "for some time," but they also indicated that from their estimates, Android malware is declining.

The news was met with approval, but also criticism, as some had been calling for Google --- if it wasn't going to curate apps --- to scan them, instead, since the Android Market opened.

Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer at Lookout, one of the more highly regarded mobile security firms, said "We think it is great that Google is working with the Android community to provide an alternative to a manual curation process, allowing developers to innovate quickly while also increasing the baseline level of security for Android users."

We have security software on all our Android devices, but not as much for protection against malware as for protection against loss or stolen devices. The software we use allows remote lock, location, and remote wipe, to protect against instances when our devices --- with all our important data --- might be lost.

Click here to find the right student loan for you

No comments: