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on December 30, 2019
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If you use an android phone or considering to buy a new one, you must have thought of once about how safe it is to you. With all the news about mobile applications stealing data from the user, it has raised alarm amongst many Android phone owners and has been ever since become the perpetual reason for worry.

So here is what most people are unaware of, Google, the current owner of Android, already has a solution to this problem called Google Play Protect which could ease your worry.

Play Protect is an efficient solution from Google to keep your device safe and secure by removing/disabling an app that threatens your security. Though Play Protect came around May 2017, it doesn’t mean that Google was doing nothing at all. Play Protect can be taken as the amalgamation of Google’s Verify Apps and Bouncer, which could be date back to 2012 and integrated it into the Google Play Store App(Market for Android app).

Key features

Now let’s take a look into the key features of Play Protect:

  • Saftey check runs on the app even before you could download and install it via Play Store.
  • Runs a scheduled scan to check for any potentially harmful apps installed from different sources other than Play Store.
  • If any app passes through the scan silently and then try to do any harmful act, gets notified to the user and disables and removes the app from your device. Such apps are considered as the one violating the Unwanted Software Policy of Google.
  • Play Protect also sends the user a privacy alert about the app that can get the user’s information by violation of Google Play’s Developer Policy.

How does it work?

If Play protect finds any kind of fault, while scanning an app in the pre-install scan or in a periodical scan, it notifies the user.

In most cases, it notifies the user after removing the malware. In other cases, it sends the user a notification asking to remove the harmful app/malware, meanwhile keeping it disabled. 

As mentioned earlier, Google Play won’t let any user download any malware app through the market Play Store. New android phones in the market have a feature “Unknown Sources” turned off, which prevents users from installing the app, that isn’t available on Play Store. 

So, if any user installs an app via unknown sources, still Play Protect scans the app for any potential threat in its periodical scan and may ask the user for the following information:

  • User’s device network connection.
  • Any potentially harmful URLs.
  • Information regarding Android OS and the app.

Do it yourself.

You can always trigger the Play Protect’s scan soon after installing an app from unknown sources. All you need to do is:

  1. Open Play store app in your android device.
  2. Tap on the menu option button, and select Play Protect from the listing.
  3. Your screen might look something like what is shown below, press the reload button to restart the scan.

Being precautious!!!

Though Google and Android provide us security on various levels, data loss happens even after that. To avoid such a situation, we must take care of the following things:

  • Always try your best to not to install any third-party app from any malicious sources or market.
  • Turn off the “Unknown Sources” option in settings if and only if you think that the app you are installing is from the reliable sources.
  • Sometimes, malware or the app might be renamed to some renowned app, which is already on Play Store but is paid, such malware might be distributed under the tag line of being freely available.

With that said, I hope what you read just now ease your mind and you can use your android phone without any worry of personal data theft.

Written By
Rateesh Babu


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