Hidden malware is something we should always be wary of. It’s often hidden deep within apps; in fact, it can be so hidden, Google Play Store doesn’t always identify it as malware.
This seems to happen more often than we would care to think, with one particular app with malware being in the Google Play Store for several months before being removed. With the number of malware apps in Google Play Store, do you still trust it?
To Miguel it’s not a matter of trust. Google Play Store is a platform he uses to download apps, and he treats it just like any other platform. It’s not so much a publisher of apps but rather a host. He reports, “If I do not trust the publisher of the app, I do not download the app, even if it is ‘endorsed’ by Play.”
One of the things Andrew likes about the Play Store is that it isn’t a “walled garden.” This is the same way he feels about the rest of the Internet. He knows it’s not completely safe since so many good and bad actors have access to it, but he’ll “always take a permissionless innovation approach over a permissioned one.” He believes it’s up to the user to do due diligence before downloading, such as learning warning signs and how to use Google, comparing it to basic survival.
Sayak notes that. Google Play is more trustworthy than third-party app stores, yet they’re still not on the same level of trust as Apple’s App Store or Microsoft Store/Azure. He realizes nearly anyone can launch an app on Google Play and load it with adware, but this is because there are fewer entry barriers. “You shouldn’t trust Google Play any more than allowing it to sit idle, as all evidence suggests it will not corrupt your phone.”
Being a Mac and iPhone user, Phil notes he’s “stupidly trusting and will run just about anything on my devices.” Adding Windows and Android recently to his office, he’s had to be more careful with his security, privacy, and data hygiene and has installed virus checkers and the like. He believes there are more app developers who just want to sell you stuff than do you harm than developers only looking to do you harm. To say he trusts Google it is going too far, but he’s not worried about threats all the time either.
Alex says he absolutely does not trust Google Play Store. He reports, “The low quality of the Google Play Store was a huge issue for me when I used Android devices.” It’s the primary reason he moved to iOS. He believes Apple seems to care more about policing their store, and while it’s far from perfect, he sees it as at least better than Google’s efforts.
Like Phil and Alex, I’m an iOS user, but unlike them, I’ve never used Android. From what I’ve learned through Make Tech Easier and other news is that Apple does run a tighter ship, as my peers have alluded to.
Do you use the Google Play Store? Do you have faith when you visit the store that you’re downloading apps that are safe? With the number of malware apps in Google Play Store, do you still trust it? Join our conversation in the comments below.