Google renames Android Wear to Wear OS

Google’s Android Wear 2.0

Google’s Android Wear 2.0

Play Protect, a suite of Android security services that Google introduced in May 2017, played a big role in bolstering overall security of the Android ecosystem past year.

We'll know Google's intentions once Android P goes final.

Play Protect is created to keep Android users safe from potentially harmful applications (PHAs) on their devices and in the Google Play mobile app store.

Play Protect also scans user devices once a day to check for PHAs and this feature helped remove nearly 39m PHAs a year ago.

The company has released its Android security report for 2017 to shed further light on the improvements its made to the platform to protect over two billion Android devices past year.

The decision likely comes as Google looks to improve the security of Android P, which the firm is also doing by preventing idle apps from accessing the smartphones' camera and mic, in a bid to ensure that dodgy apps running in the background, such as the SonicSpy spyware uncovered previous year, can't silently record audio and take pictures for blackmail.

As per a report by Android Police, Google has taken this step to block older apps is because it wants the upcoming Android iteration to be modern and also secure from all ends. Google deployed machine learning in play protect that discovered about 60.3% of potentially harmful apps in play store.

What's more, in the recently-released Android P Developer Preview 1, Google warns users when they open an ageing app, throwing up the message: "This app was built for an older version of Android and may not work properly". The Cupertino giant has been clearing the App Store of apps that do not support latest iPhone models and hardware architectures, and Google is doing a move that may have the same impact starting this year. The association with Android didn't reflect the platform's compatibility with iOS devices. It is unclear though what proportion of the two billion or so installed Android devices overall received security patches, or how quickly those patches were installed after release.

Each Android version has a different set of rules for how apps are allowed to operate on a given device. This basically means the apps built for the older Android version will be blocked from running on a device running the newer Android OS. These included protections against the installation of apps from unknown or untrusted sources, kernel hardening and the elimination of support for insecure network protocols. By increasing bounties for responsible vulnerability disclosure, Google was able to ensure that no critical security vulnerabilities were publicly disclosed without an update becoming available for it first, he noted.

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