Saturday, September 08, 2012

Does Google's acquisition of VirusTotal mean beefed-up Play Store security?

Google has purchased a security service. On Friday, it was announced that the Internet giant has, for an undisclosed amount of money, acquired VirusTotal, a free security service that examines files and URLs that users submit for possible malware.

The purchase makes sense for a number of reasons, including Google's Gmail, where links and files are transferred en masse, and Google Docs / Drive, for the obvious reasons.

VirusTotal announced the deal in a blog post. The company said:
Our goal is simple: to help keep you safe on the web. And we’ve worked hard to ensure that the services we offer continually improve. But as a small, resource-constrained company, that can sometimes be challenging. So we’re delighted that Google, a long-time partner, has acquired VirusTotal. This is great news for you, and bad news for malware generators, because:
  • The quality and power of our malware research tools will keep improving, most likely faster; and
  • Google’s infrastructure will ensure that our tools are always ready, right when you need them.
VirusTotal will continue to operate independently, maintaining our partnerships with other antivirus companies and security experts. This is an exciting step forward. Google has a long track record working to keep people safe online and we look forward to fighting the good fight together with them.

VirusTotal Team
In addition to the more obvious reasons for Google to want a virus scanning service, there's another reason we hope gets some attention: Google Play. Google Play, due to its "Wild West" nature, has seen far too many outbreaks of malware.

We're hoping that the acquisition of VirusTotal means that Google will be turning more attention to protecting Google Play from fake apps and malware.

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