Google is addressing the problem of malware on Android smartphones by implementing stricter app development and distribution guidelines. They have ensured apps on the Google Play Store are free of malware, but the ability to sideload apps can create a loophole for malware to spread. To address this, Google plans to block the installation of outdated apps on Android 14 as seen in recent code changes. The goal of this move is to eliminate the potential for malware to spread through sideloading and older apps.
Update your applications to prevent malware
Google is encouraging Android users to regularly update their applications. As the latest version of Android, Android 13, is only on 5.2% of devices, Google may raise the minimum API limit to Android 6.0 to better protect users from malware spread. This is because malware attacks often target older versions of Android with outdated security patches and vulnerabilities.
Once Google begins blocking sideloading, the number of malware attacks will decrease significantly. It’s worth noting that this will not impact newer smartphones with newer versions of the OS, as they receive timely updates for their apps.
Google will let brands block outdated apps on Android 14
Google is contemplating giving brands the option to enable or disable the feature that blocks the installation of outdated apps on Android 14. The company acknowledges the problem of malware on Android smartphones and is taking steps to address it.
To give users full control of their devices, Google may also provide a way for users to bypass the feature through the command shell by introducing a specific flag. It’s worth noting that this process would be more complex than just installing an APK on an Android smartphone.
The aim is to make it difficult for most users to bypass the feature, while still providing a way for those who need it. We may see this feature in Android 14, which will be launched in March.
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