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Google targets Android malware with AI-powered real-time threat detection service

Google is preparing to launch a new system to help solve the malware problem on Android. Its new real-time threat detection service leverages Google Play Protect’s on-device artificial intelligence to analyze applications for malicious behavior. The service, announced following Tuesday’s Google I/O developer event, checks for various signals related to an app’s use of sensitive permissions and interactions with other apps and services, the company explained.

If suspicious behavior is discovered, Google Play Protect will be able to send the app to Google for further review, warn all users who have the app installed, and even disable the app if necessary.

The detection also leverages Google’s Private Compute Core, the Android privacy infrastructure launched in 2022 to provide an isolated data processing environment within the Android operating system. The idea of ​​Private Computing Core (PCC) is to give users control over whether, how or when their data is shared. By using PCC, new real-time threat detection capabilities protect users without collecting user data.

Image Source: Google

Google said it will deploy the system on Google Pixel devices later this year. Other manufacturers will also join in, including Oppo, Honor, Lenovo, OnePlus, Nothig, Transsion, Sharp and others.

The service helps Android users download and use apps from Google Play more easily, even if, arguably, they don’t want to download malware in the first place. Instead, they hope to catch malicious apps during app audits. This is an area of ​​focus for Apple, which often promotes the benefits of its App Store to consumers and developers. While bad actors often slip through the cracks, it will weed out more through a stricter review system before allowing them to be listed on the app store. For example, before I/O, Apple announced that it had stopped $1.8 billion worth of fraud in the App Store.

In addition to its real-time threat detection service, Google also announced that it will hide one-time passwords from notifications to reduce common attack vectors for fraud and spyware. It will also expand Android 13’s restrictions settings, which now require additional user approval to enable app permissions when sideloading the app onto the device.

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