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Google ramps up Android security, now scans all apps  

Google is ramping up security for users of devices running its Android operating system, by now scanning all apps on the device instead of just those installed via third-party app stores.

In a blog post, Android security engineer Rich Cannings likened the move – which fortifies Android's "Verify apps" service layer – to fortifying a home's security system.

"(W)e’re rolling out a new enhancement which will now continually check devices to make sure that all apps are behaving in a safe manner, even after installation," Cannings said.

He noted the "Verify apps" features already protects people when they are installing apps outside of Google Play at the time of installation.

Cannings said that in 2013, "Verify apps" had been used more than four billion times to check apps at the time of install.

With the new enhancement, that protection will now go even further, using Android’s powerful app scanning system developed by the Android security and Safe Browsing teams.

But Cannings also noted people will not likely see the warning or any other indication that the added layer of protection is there.

He said that in 2013, fewer than 0.18 percent of installs occurred after someone received a warning that the app was potentially harmful.

"Even though the risk is miniscule, we’re committed to making sure that the best available security protections are available to all Android users. This includes service-based protections such as Verify apps, as well as security features within the platform itself," he added.

A separate report on Mashable noted the "Verify Apps" setting is found under the security settings menu on most versions of Android, and is enabled by default on smartphones and tablets.  — Joel Locsin /LBG, GMA News