Concerns about Android malware really are overblown many times — after all, you’re most likely safe as long as you only download apps from the official Google Play store or other trusted sources like Amazon’s app store. That said, Google knows that it has to do more to improve Android’s overall security and this week it claimed a big victory in its war against malware installations.
AndroidCentral reports that Google has release its Android Security State of the Union for 2014 and it’s found that malware installations were down by half of what they were in 2013. More specifically, Google found that “fewer than 1% of Android devices had a Potentially Harmful App (PHA, i.e. malware) installed in 2014” and that “fewer than 0.15% of devices that only install from Google Play had a PHA installed.”
So really, if you want to make sure that you don’t get any malicious applications on your phone, the best way to do it is stick with the Google Play store, or at least avoid shady third-party sources that you’ve never heard of before.
Of course, malware is just one potential issue Android phone users have to deal with. Another Google Play-related issue we’ve seen recently are paid apps that offer to do “security scans” for your phone but that in reality don’t do anything. It would be interesting to see a Google report on how many fraudulent apps it removes from Google Play every year, but that’s a topic for another post.