For the second year in a row Google has put out a security report, detailing how Android performed in terms of vulnerabilities and patches in 2015. The news seems to be good, with attacks and malicious apps being down, but only if you stick to the official Google Play store.
According to Google, there was a 40% lower chance of installing a malicious app from the Play store compared to 2014. This mostly comes down to improvements in Android itself as well as enhancements to machine learning algorithms that scan millions of apps for potential unwanted behavior.
The monthly security patches that Google has been putting out for its Nexus devices have also helped, especially when these efforts were also adopted by third party manufacturers on other devices. The company also notes that increased adoption of more recent versions of Android has driven up security standards and offered better protection for customers.
Overall, the company notes that potential harmful apps coming from the Google Play store were installed on fewer than 0.15% of devices. However, that number rises significantly to 0.5% when taking into account devices that install apps from other sources outside of the Play Store. And what’s also worrying is the fact that 0.15% actually accounts for more than 2.1 million devices being infected while getting apps from the Play Store.
Meanwhile, while many of us are looking forward to Android 7, also known as Android N, the majority of devices out in the wild rely on Android 4.4 or earlier – versions of the OS that are now years-old.
Google is promising to continue to future on enhancing security for its operating system and to lead by example when it comes to supporting devices with security patches and updates. We’ll know if those efforts work out when this report comes out again next year.