GOOGLE has added real-time threat detection code to its Play Protect feature, making it work more like antivirus software.
It’s designed to protect Android users when they download apps from outside the Google Play Store.
Even though Play Protect is only six years old, it scans 50 billion apps for malware every day – more than six times the number of people on Earth.
It already scans apps uploaded to the Play Store in real time.
And it can check apps when Android users access them manually.
But the feature’s latest update automates the scanning process for sideloaded apps – apps that don’t come from an official source.
This means that an app is checked for questionable code when it is installed – rather than afterwards, if the Android user is smart enough.
Android owners are often advised to avoid sideloading apps, especially from untrustworthy websites or sources with poor reviews.
These apps can often act as Trojans for all kinds of malicious malware.
However, Google has tried to make this process safer for Android owners.
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The new feature is not yet available to most users.
It’s expected to roll out later this month with an update to the Play Store app titled 37.5.
Some Android users think Google should have taken this precaution a long time ago.
While others accuse the tech giant of wanting to turn Android into Apple’s iOS, which prohibits sideloading “unknown” apps.
Android users who use the process to install modded apps – versions of popular apps that allow them to do things the originals don’t – fear the update could spell the end of sideloading entirely.
“Looks like they’re killing mod apps regardless of whether they pose a threat or not,” one Android user wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
“Android is now trying to become iOS. Should just disable sideload instead of slowly ending open development.”
Another wrote: “It could be the end of sideloading if they continue to restrict app installation without their server-side scanning.”
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