Google “Bouncer” To Patrol Android Market For Malware, Protect Users

The accelerated growth of the Android Market has unfortunately also led to higher incidences of Android phone and tablet users getting infected by malware and viruses. While Google plans to leave the Android Market open to all app submissions and don’t necessarily enforce stringent controls like in the case of the Apple App Store, the tech giant has now decided to add a new layer of security to the Android Market and hopefully eliminate Android malware downloads. The new security system is codenamed “Bouncer” and Android’s VP of Engineering, Hiroshi Lockheimer, explains how it works via the Google Mobile blog:

Google Bouncer to protect Android Market from malware

The last year has been a phenomenal one for the Android ecosystem. Device activations grew 250% year-on-year, and the total number of app downloads from Android Market topped 11 billion. As the platform continues to grow, we’re focused on bringing you the best new features and innovations – including in security.

Adding a new layer to Android security

Today we’re revealing a service we’ve developed, codenamed Bouncer, which provides automated scanning of Android Market for potentially malicious software without disrupting the user experience of Android Market or requiring developers to go through an application approval process.

The service performs a set of analyses on new applications, applications already in Android Market, and developer accounts. Here’s how it works: once an application is uploaded, the service immediately starts analyzing it for known malware, spyware and trojans. It also looks for behaviors that indicate an application might be misbehaving, and compares it against previously analyzed apps to detect possible red flags. We actually run every application on Google’s cloud infrastructure and simulate how it will run on an Android device to look for hidden, malicious behavior. We also analyze new developer accounts to help prevent malicious and repeat-offending developers from coming back.”