Like any other major tech company, Google tries to make its products as secure as possible. But research suggests there are vast differences between the safety of using Google apps and those made available through the Google Play app store.
Security firm Check Point published a blog post that said a malicious app on Google Play called BrainTest may have infected more than one million Android users. The malware on BrainTest can reportedly download and execute code on a device without the user’s consent, using a variety of techniques to evade detection. In fact, Google has twice removed BrainTest from its app store, most recently in late August.
According to SecurityWeek, Google Play is quickly evolving from a secure way to get apps into an attacker’s delight, with malware that can bypass CAPTCHAs and perform dangerous tasks. Removing BrainTest is no easy feat, because it requires users to re-flash their Android smartphone or tablet with an official read only memory (ROM).
While consumers should be cautious about what they download, Google is working on a more secure experience with Gmail and Google Drive, perhaps recognizing the platforms are used for both personal and professional purposes, often simultaneously. In a recent blog post, Google introduced eDiscovery with Google Apps Vault for Drive. It allows companies to better retain documents and other records they might legally be required to produce or maintain as part of industry regulations. Gmail, meanwhile, can now block addresses and send them directly to spam. Users can also unsubscribe from various lists directly through the Gmail app.
Of course, no technology can remain completely secure forever, but Google has a big stake in the online apps race. As FierceCIO reported, Microsoft continues to dominate the cloud-based business productivity space, with more than 25 percent adoption of Office 365, but Google Apps adoption has also grown to nearly 23 percent from 16 percent in the past year. In a modern corporate environment, though, the same employee using the beefed-up Google Drive or Gmail might also be downloading dangerous mobile games from Google Play. As a result, the company may need to improve its product security across the board if it wants to get more support from IT departments.
Writer & Editor
Shane Schick is a contributor for SecurityIntelligence.