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Google enforces Play Store clampdown to fight malware threat

02 Aug 2012
Google Android Malware

Google has instigated a new set of guidelines for developers looking to produce applications for its Play Store market place, looking to stem the tide of malicious apps afflicting the Android market.

The policy was imposed on Wednesday and aims to make the Android ecosystem safer and easier to use.

The policy bans certain practices, such as obtaining personal information including credit-card and social security numbers, without user consent.

It also stops developers using names or icons similar to existing apps, theoretically reducing piracy and hampering cyber criminal's ability to create malicious Trojan versions of popular titles.

"We don't allow unauthorised publishing or disclosure of people's private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, driver's and other licence numbers, or any other information that is not publicly accessible," Google stated.

"Don't infringe on the intellectual property rights of others, (including patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, and other proprietary rights), or encourage or induce infringement of intellectual property rights. We will respond to clear notices of alleged copyright infringement."

The policy also aims to crack down on spam, warning developers not to post repetitive content, and product descriptions overloaded with keywords to boost its relevancy in the store's search results.

With its new policy Google has also implemented measures designed to hamper crooks' ability to use the ecosystem, promising to block any apps that send messages or emails without the users consent.

The practice of infecting a phone and instructing it to send automated messages to premium rate numbers is a common feature of mobile malware.

The policies implementation comes after numerous warnings from the security industry that Google was not doing enough to protect Android users from cyber criminals.

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Alastair Stevenson
About

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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