Security wasn’t really a big part of Google’s Android 4.3 announcement, which might sound odd considering how big of a deal device security has been in these past few weeks. However, that doesn’t mean Google hasn’t done anything to target malicious apps; instead of loading up Android 4.3 with beefy security features, they took those security features and implemented them into Google’s Play services application that’s updated separately from Android versions.
Android 4.2 had some security code in it that would scan a device for malicious software, and for the most part, it did its job. The problem was that many devices were either not updated to Android 4.2 or were updated too slowly which still left open some gaping security holes. Google’s solution was pretty ingenious, and by adding that app-scanning code to their Play services, all Android devices running version 2.2 and up will benefit from it, regardless of how quickly an OEM or carrier wants the device updated. Best of all, it’s come with some new features that add even more security, which includes the ability to scan sideloaded apps instead of just apps downloaded from the Play Store.
This new scanning feature works with the app scanning system that Google implemented into the Play Store awhile back, so there’s a double-layer of security if you’re installing apps only through the Play Store. It also quietly lessens the importance of security apps from bigger security companies, because Google has that type of functionality now built in at the system level.
This isn’t to say that all Android malware is nullified now, because if you’re sideloading dozens of pirated apps from sketchy sites, you can definitely still run into some problems. However, it’s a step in the right direction to keep devices secure and keep malicious applications off the Play Store.
source: Computer World