Google Reveals "Bouncer" Malware Filter for Android Apps

Ryan Whitwam

Google’s Android OS often takes a beating from security companies for it’s occasional malware scares. Google has not been silent on the matter in the past, but the OS maker revealed today that it is taking action to combat Android malware. In fact, it has been taking action for the last few months without telling us. Google’s Bouncer project is an automated security scanner that will apparently filter malware from the Market.

Google allows anyone to pay the $25 to become a developer, and start uploading apps to the Android Market. Unlike Apple, Google does not review apps by hand. That has led to some embarrassing malware outbreaks, but that’s what Bouncer is supposed to stop. Bouncer simulates the app in the cloud to look for suspicious behavior. It also looks for patterns in developer accounts to make sure that the bad guys can’t keep signing up after being given the boot.

The makers of antivirus software love to publicize malware outbreaks, and can sometimes get ahead of themselves. Case in point, Symantec had to retract its assertion last week that millions of Android devices had been infected with malware in the Market. Turns out the apps simply had aggressive ads. Google says that malicious apps in the Market have dropped 40% since Bouncer was deployed. Do you still find malware in the Market?

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