Android security & privacy: 2018 year in review

Google’s Android security team has published its yearly report on the state of Android security, and it’s filled with detailed information.

The broadest statistic for measuring device hygiene is how frequently a full-device scan detects Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs). Google Play Protect, Android’s built-in defense mechanism, is incredibly effective at keeping PHAs out of Google Play, but malicious apps can still be downloaded from other sources. These apps endanger not only the device but also threaten the sanctity of the Android environment. This is why Google Play Protect scans all apps installed on a device regardless of the source.

In 2018 only 0.08% of devices that used Google Play exclusively for app downloads were affected by PHAs. In contrast, devices that installed apps from outside of Google Play were affected by PHAs eight times more often.Compared to the previous year, even those devices saw a 15% reduction in malware due to the vigilance of Google Play Protect.

Over the years, I’ve come to accept that tech media is easily fooled by security stories – in the olden days, when the desktop reigned supreme, it was baseless story after baseless story about macOS and security (usually sponsored and/or pushed by antivirus peddlers), and now that mobile reigns supreme, they aim their FUD at iOS and Android.

Don’t fall for it. With normal use, iOS and Android are incredibly safe operating systems to use.


  1. 2019-04-02 4:05 pm
  2. 2019-04-02 5:14 pm