Microsoft issues cyber threat alert to Google on Vulnerable Mobile Apps

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Microsoft Security Analysis team recently alerted Google’s Android Security Research teams to a critical issue potentially affecting billions of Android app users. This vulnerability could lead to various cyber threats, including token thefts, code execution attacks, and other common security risks.

Responding swiftly to the alert, Google promptly released new guidelines for Android app developers to help them identify and address these security concerns. The aim is to prevent similar vulnerabilities from being introduced into future app developments.

Notably, popular apps like Xiaomi Inc’s File Manager Product and WPS Office, boasting over half a billion downloads, were identified as having these security weaknesses.

In a separate move, Google announced enhanced security measures for apps developed by governments and aimed at public welfare. Following extensive testing on its Google Play Store platform, the company will roll out official badges for apps in more than 14 countries, signifying their legitimacy as government applications.

Over the past three years, Google has banned over 2 million Android applications, including more than 37,000 that were clones of existing apps but designed for malicious purposes. A recent report revealed that Google blocked over 7,000 applications imitating mobile apps from federal agencies, involved in fraudulent activities such as data theft and financial scams.

The new badges will initially cover over 2,000 federal apps from governments in countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Brazil, Indonesia, India, and Mexico.

The beta version of this feature has been in testing since November 2023 and has been included in the developer guidelines since then.

To facilitate the smooth implementation of the badges, governments and developers are encouraged to use official government email IDs for correspondence and provide authorization proof during the application process.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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