Installing apps from outside the Play Store is going to be safer than ever, and all thanks to Google itself

installing apps from outside the play store is going to be safer than ever, and all thanks to google itself
installing apps from outside the play store is going to be safer than ever, and all thanks to google itself

Android will allow you to scan the apps installed directly on the mobile without going through the official Google store.

Most Android phones  come by default with Google Play pre-installed. That is the official Google store, which allows access to the vast majority of the apps that users want; There are exceptions, of course, and that is why there are alternative stores or even the possibility of installing an app by downloading the APK package from a server or website.

That freedom to install any app from any source is what defines Android compared to its great competitor, iOS . iPhones are limited to apps available in the App Store, so users can only use apps that Apple has previously approved. The positive aspect of this policy is that, at least in theory, it offers more security by limiting the possibility of installing malicious apps or apps with viruses (although Apple has missed more than one).

The excuse of security is what Apple is giving to try to convince European commissioners not to implement a new law that forces it to open its closed ecosystem. However, now Google has just shown why that’s a bad excuse.

Protection against apps with viruses

And the new Google Play Protect update will allow the scanning of apps even if they have been installed from other means . Play Protect is Google’s system capable of analyzing the apps installed on the mobile phone in search of harmful behavior; It works in several steps, starting before even downloading an app from Google Play, and going as far as checking the behavior of the apps and deactivating or uninstalling those that are stealing user data or operating in an insecure manner.

With the next update, Play Protect will also be able to analyze apps that are going to be installed from sources other than Google Play. For example, if the user downloads an APK file from a website , Play Protect will display a pop-up message offering the ability to scan the app for possible threats.

During app analysis, Play Protect will obtain “signals” from the app and send them to Google infrastructure to evaluate the code for suspicious features. Once the analysis is complete, Play Protect will display a message that will approve the app, or determine if it is dangerous and the reasons , such as if it is capable of unauthorized access to data.

This feature will be especially useful for users who use alternative app stores that do not have particularly high security standards, or if they download apps directly from the creators’ websites. A common attack vector, according to Google, is sharing apps with viruses using WhatsApp and other instant messaging apps, and this feature should protect against these attacks.

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