Google adds security against modifications in Play Store apps

Jun

25

2018

Google will add security code to applications that are on the Play Store. This should help to confirm that applications are authentic, especially when distributed through distribution channels outside the Play Store.

That explains the internet giant in a blog post, where it mentions ‘security metadata’, which is added to Play Store apps. The extra code is added to the apk installation files and must help developers to distribute applications outside the Play Store. With the inserted code, Android checks whether the application is authentic at installation and if that is the case, it will be placed in the Play Store library and the app will be updated. Developers do not have to do anything themselves; the code is added to the digital signing process that apps have to undergo.

Google points out that in some countries alternative application distribution channels are used. For example, peer-to-peer channels are often used in countries where large data bundles are less common. With the security code that checks whether the apps match the Play Store version, users can still use alternative channels safely, according to Google.

In time, Google could impose more restrictions on installing applications. For example, it could be made possible that applications are required to be installed in the Play Store in order to be installed, or to prevent certain applications from being installed. Whether Google intends to do that is not clear.

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