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Google releases its 2018 Android Security Report

A stat from the 2018 Android Security Report. (Source: Google)
A stat from the 2018 Android Security Report. (Source: Google)
Android is now coming up on 10 years of use as a mobile device OS. Google claims that 2018 was one of its most secure yet. Its report on this subject attributes decreasing rates of potentially harmful apps to the implementation of Play Protect.

Google's 2018 Android Security Report mainly covers the rates of potentially harmful app (PHA) installation on Android phones. This is the main route by which malicious activity such as click fraud, Trojans, phishing and spyware can exert their effects on these devices.

The Mountain View company reported that 0.45% of all products that ran Android in 2018 had installed PHAs, as opposed to 0.56% in 2017. This is a year-on-year improvement in what Google calls "device hygiene" of 20%. The company stated that Play Protect, a recently-introduced feature, played a role in this trend.

On the other hand, Android apps could evade this kind of surveillance if they are installed from sources other than the Google Play Store. The 2018 Security Report also found that 0.68% of devices whose owners used these routes were affected by PHAs, as opposed to 0.08% of devices on which the apps came exclusively from the Play Store.

The 2018 report also included data on other aspects of Android security. It stated that 84% more devices received a security-related update in the last quarter of the year compared to the same part of 2017. It seems Pie (Android 9.0) is the most secure recent version of the OS: it was associated with 0.19% of all PHA installs in 2018, whereas Lollipop (Android 5) was the worst, with 0.65% of the same.


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Deirdre O Donnell, 2019-03-30 (Update: 2019-03-30)