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Google Android The Internet Technology

New Google Data Shows Dangers of Third-Party App Stores (onthewire.io) 67

Trailrunner7 writes: Google's position in the Internet world is a unique one. In one or another, the company controls or sees much of the traffic on the network and owns one of the larger computing arsenals on the planet. It's also in control of a decent chunk of the mobile world, thanks to Android's popularity, and securing that ecosystem is a tremendous challenge in both complexity and scope. Google scans more than 2 million apps every week for its 1.4 billion Android users. And it collects a lot of data from its users, of course. Some new data from the company shows that using only the Play store is much safer than using third-party app stores. The data Google has collected shows that users who install apps only from the Play store have far fewer potentially harmful apps installed on their devices than users who also sideload apps.
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New Google Data Shows Dangers of Third-Party App Stores

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @06:45PM (#51530961)

    News at 11.

  • Useless article.

    • by cream wobbly ( 1102689 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @07:22PM (#51531245)

      Totally useless, except for the fact that it illuminates one point:

      Google wants to stop people using the Amazon App Store because many of the same apps are available for less, or with a Prime membership some are available for free including all the in-app purchases.

      How can they do that? By lumping them together with other third-party providers and calling them "dangerous". By listing the anti-malware measures they have in place and implying that other providers don't do also want to protect their reputation.

      I'm not saying that Amazon is a paragon of malware-free apps, but Google is certainly implying Amazon is not.

      • by skids ( 119237 )

        Plus they don't get the meta-data from people logging in to Google accounts just to download apps. (They could just as easily have posted signatures or digests for approved apps, but then they wouldn't have a monopoly on the web traffic and resulting log data.)

      • by Zeio ( 325157 )

        Google blocks AdAway and is working much harder to prevent root. This jailing of the user is meant to force the use of the app store which allows them to monetize personal data (being "scrubbed" (year right)) and targeted marketing.

        When apps that help to truly make your experience secure ( such as adaway that use fdroid and require root) by blocking horrible ads, scumware, malware, and other trash used by marketing on the internet.

        I use various lists just on hosts via android and dns creating blackhole zon

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It has a use. It can be used as a demonstration on how to lie with statistics.

    • Heh. Google's basically saying that the Walled Garden is a more secure approach. Let that sink in for a moment.

    • Tagged "wellDUH".

  • Amazon? What exactly are we talking about here? Who are the players?
    • That's the largest competitor, and it really sucks for Google.

      • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @09:17PM (#51531805)

        I think Google is really talking about third-party stores in China, India, etc. I'm not sure if the Google presentation didn't mention those countries by name, though TFA does. Apparently, lots of people use them over there, and subsequently get viruses or malware. It probably causes Android malware vs iOS to be badly skewed. Google is rightly pointing out that you're more likely to get hit with malware from some sketchy Chinese app store than from Google Play. It's not really all that shocking a revelation. Think about CNet's Download.com and all the crap you get on your system if you use that site, and you get the basic idea.

        People are implying that Google is singling out Amazon here. While I don't think Google would shed tears if people somehow got that impression, I'd bet that Amazon's store is almost as safe as Google's. Besides, Amazon is a big boy and doesn't need defending from us, the peanut gallery. If they want to release a study demonstrating how safe their own store is, they're perfectly capable of doing so.

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          I think Google is really talking about third-party stores in China, India, etc. I'm not sure if the Google presentation didn't mention those countries by name, though TFA does. Apparently, lots of people use them over there, and subsequently get viruses or malware. It probably causes Android malware vs iOS to be badly skewed. Google is rightly pointing out that you're more likely to get hit with malware from some sketchy Chinese app store than from Google Play. It's not really all that shocking a revelation

  • app store censorship and carrier lockdown are bad parts of a 1 app store only system.

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      Anyone else remember when apple pulled all the apps that let you use the camera flash as a flashlight? Or how you still afaik can not get a app to scan wifi aps?

      • Wow. Seriously? When are they releasing their Apple Torch?

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        There is an *Apple* app for their own APs that has a scan mode that lets you scan for APs. It's not as fancy as some I've seen for Android, but it's useful enough to have.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Or how you still afaik can not get a app to scan wifi aps?

        Because there's no way to write a wifi-scanner without using private APIs. You can probably write a very basic one that scans for available APs, but gets you little more than what the settings dialog shows you anyways using the available APIs. Getting any more information requires private API usage which is banned.

        Of course, no one really talks much about it since Apple has an open-source sideload ability now - open source apps can be loaded on your

  • Hmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wwalker ( 159341 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @07:01PM (#51531105) Journal

    In other words, Google says Google is better. How about an *independent* study?

    • Bingo.

      To answer your question, because they don't want to share their private data. Funny how things fall when the shoe's on the other foot, huh?

  • TFA has all the factual content of a fluff piece read by the attractive yet dimwitted weekend morning anchor on the local news. There is no information at all to back up the baseless claims in the article. Not even a link to the "data" or a summary of the "data" that Google has allegedly collected.

    This story should never have made it out of the firehose.

  • In one or another

    It seems this article has lost its "way".

  • I'd personally trust more a repository of programs where the programs had been built from source by volunteers and was free to tinker with under a FOSS license.

    • Changed over to F-droid only about 3 years ago. Never installing the GAPPS services again as my phones have longer battery life and no more invasive 'We are going to do this/that, click ok to accept, click i disagree (for the 200th time) if you do not accept"
      • Use Owncloud and Tasks App + DAVDroid for Contact, Task & Calendar Syncing/Backup over multiple devices.
        Owncloud with the genuine Owncloud & Owncloud Notes for file and Note taking.
        Car Reports for recording your vehicle expenses (also syncs to owncloud and all your devices).
        OSMAnd~ for full voice navigation.
  • Looks like a Google employee managed to get an advertising piece linked to from Slashdot's main page.

  • If Google wasn't so stupid about what they don't allow in the Play Store, the 3rd party market wouldn't have been born.

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      That's not it. They are rather tolerant in what they accept, there are a few touchy subjects like ad blockers and sometimes an app is removed for some time for obscure reasons (like Tasker). But globally you can find almost everything legal in the play store, even root apps and apps that compete directly with Google's offering. These are not things that you will find on the Apple app store.

      The real reason is that :
      - For OEMs to get the Play store and the rest of the gapps on their devices, they need to foll

  • Some people use 3rd party app stores in order to obtain warez. They search for some app which costs a fortune on Play and find a dubious place to obtain it for free. e.g. type "final fantasy apk" and various hits come up.

    It doesn't so much follow that Play is safer (although it probably is for other reasons), but that there are determined idiots out there who'll put their phone, privacy and security at risk to save a few dollars.

    BTW, there are many reputable 3rd party app stores who either curate or pro

    • BTW, there are many reputable 3rd party app stores who either curate or proactively monitor their submissions but Google probably doesn't make the distinction. It probably just scans apks on infected phones and determines if they came from their store or "somewhere else" which means Amazon's appstore, F-droid and all the rest are lumped in with the warez sites.

      On the other hand, if you're using Chrome and syncing your phone, are you leaking your history back to Google? They might well know where you got those APKs.

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )
        During setup Google sticks a popup asking if it can scan all your apps for security. I assume any stat gathering falls out of that. It should be straightforward for them to figure out if an apk comes from their store by comparing the hash, signatures etc.
  • 10 times more secure of whatever then other android app stores, is still bad, it should be zero. We're talking about malware here, why is it even on google play?
    I wonder what the malware rate for the f-droid 'store' is?
    Screw this closed source mobile app world, it's even worse then what we had on windows.

Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. -- Aldous Huxley

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