Google launches security features while report shows iOS threats outpacing Android

Google has cracked down on security with the launch of Play Protect and other new defense mechanisms while a report has been released which shows iOS malware growth outpacing that of Android.

After the Google Docs phishing attack, the company has been ramping up its security in recent months. This started back in May with the implementation of machine learning to improve the detection of phishing messages – and the company now estimates it can block spam and malicious content with a 99.9 percent accuracy.

The following month, in June, Google added security controls to G Suite which enables admins to block employees from accessing untrustworthy apps. The phishing attack was caused by a bogus app using a Google sign-in, so this feature helps to ensure admins can vet third-party apps.

Earlier this week, Google added a new warning screen for apps from developers which are yet to go through verification. You can still choose to continue, at your own risk, but you’ll be prompted with a warning message and must type “continue” in the field to help ensure the user has read the prompt and hasn’t just clicked ‘ok’ to get rid of the message (against our better judgement, most of us have probably done it at some point!)

"We're committed to fostering a healthy ecosystem for both users and developers," wrote Google's Naveen Agarwal and Wesley Chun in a blog post. "These new notices will inform users automatically if they may be at risk, enabling them to make informed decisions to keep their information safe, and will make it easier to test and develop apps for developers."

Now the company is putting its focus on Android security with the roll-out of Play Protect to all devices running Google Play Services 11 and up. All of the apps downloaded from the Play Store will be scanned to detect anything malicious and will be removed or blocked on the device. Of course, if the user is side-loading apps outside the official store, they still run a higher risk of being hit by a form of malware.

Speaking of, as reported by our sister publication EnterpriseCIO, the growth of malware targeting iOS has tripled and now outpaces Android which remained largely flat over the past couple of quarters, according to research conducted by mobile security company Skycure.

Varun Kohli, Vice President of Marketing at Skycure, said, "iOS is used on one of the more popular devices and that is where hackers are focusing and that is where the money is. A more affluent community tends to use the iPhone."

iOS still has some way to go before it has the same level of risk as Android, but it’s good to see Google being more proactive about the security issue on its platform. Hopefully, the rapidly growing threat to iOS will ensure Apple doesn’t become complacent.

Do you think Google is doing enough in terms of security? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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