In a world that was at one time strictly exclusive to RIM and the Blackberry Platform, The United States Department of Defense and the Pentagon approved Android for use in their own secure networks-The Dell Venue Pro.Running Android 2.2 Froyo. Of course due to high security concern, they had to remove or tweak a little thing here and there. Web browsing and all web access would be done through a DOD proxy server. This despite the heavy criticism received by android’s for various personal/mobile security reasons . Now Google had enough of the baseless allegations and came up with an ingenious answer - The new ANDROID 4.2
Malicious apps on Android may not be as big a problem as some would have you believe, but they are still a threat. That’s especially true when you’re side-loading apps onto your handset, as Google Play’s built in security features don’t check third-party apps. While Google Play does scan all apps that are uploaded to the store, apps from third-party sources get to skip the security check, potentially allowing for some nasty situations.All this is changed in android 4.2 with an optional ad on package.
Besides the serverside system checking of apps on the play store Android 4.2 now gives you an option to have a device(client side) 3rd party app malware checker.Essentially, the app scanning software is an opt-in product, so you’ll be prompted by a request to verify apps. If you click agree, the security platform will start running and checking out apps you install or run. If for some reason you change your mind at a later point and don’t want the security service anymore, you can easily shut it off in the security section of the operating system menu.
So how does the security system work?
When an app is loaded, the device sends information identifying the application to Google servers, which then analyze the data and compares it to a database of known apps.
“We have a catalog of 700,000 applications in the Play Store, and beyond that, we’re always scanning stuff on the Web in terms of APKs that are appearing,” Lockheimer (google android’s engineering head) says. “We have a pretty good understanding of the app ecosystem now, whether something’s in the Play Store or not.”If the app is loaded from a third-party store is recognized by Google’s servers, the installation continues without any issues.
However, if the information matches an app known to be dangerous or harmful the system will prevent you from installing it. You’ll also be notified if the app is questionable, but not outright dangerous. At that point, you can decide whether you want to continue the installation process.
“The server does all the hard work… The device sends only a signature of the APK so that the server can identify it rapidly,” Lockheimer added.
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