Android Malware Downloads are Decreasing, Google Says

Google on Thursday revealed a new service that's been working behind the scenes to protect Android users from malware. It's called "Bouncer," which Google developed to automatically scan the Android Market for potentially malicious software without getting in the way of the end-user. It's Google's way of juggling an open marketplace where apps don't have to go through an approval process like they do on Apple's ecosystem, while simultaneously combating the growing threat for malware

"The service has been looking for malicious apps in Market for a while now, and between the first and second halves of 2011, we saw a 40 percent decrease in the number of potentially-malicious downloads from Android Market," Google said in a blog post. "This drop occurred at the same time that companies who market and sell anti-malware and security software have been reporting that malicious applications are on the rise. While it’s not possible to prevent bad people from building malware, the most important measurement is whether those bad applications are being installed from Android Market - and we know the rate is declining significantly."

Google might be feeling like its open-source platform gets a bad rap from security vendors, and in particular from Symantec, which recently warned Android users of "the highest distribution of malware identified so far this year." Turns out Symantec may have jumped the gun on that one, so Google is out to set the record straight. In addition to its Bouncer service, Google says Android was developed from the beginning to make mobile malware less disruptive with certain security features like Sandboxing, Permissions, and the ability to remotely remove malware.

"No security approach is foolproof, and added scrutiny can often lead to important improvements," Google said. "Our systems are getting better at detecting and eliminating malware every day, and we continue to invite the community to work with us to keep Android safe."