Google today announced the App Defense Alliance to “stop bad apps before they reach users’ devices.” This partnership sees the Play Store integrate third-party protections from ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium.

While user-facing measures like Play Protect work to scan and identify apps after they’re on your device, the App Defense Alliance wants to stop potentially harmful applications (PHAs) before they are published on Google Play and can even affect users. Other goals include reducing the “risk of app-based malware, identifying new threats, and protecting our users.”

As part of this Alliance, we are integrating our Google Play Protect detection systems with each partner’s scanning engines. This will generate new app risk intelligence as apps are being queued to publish. Partners will analyze that dataset and act as another, vital set of eyes prior to an app going live on the Play Store.

This second “vital set of eyes” sees ESETLookout, and Zimperium partner with Google. They were “hand-picked” for their “successes in finding potential threats and their dedication to improving the ecosystem.” ADA members can request scans from the Google Play Protect scanner service, while Google can do the same to get results from partner scanning engines.

All of our partners work in the world of endpoint protection, and offer specific products to protect mobile devices and the mobile ecosystem. Like Google Play Protect, our partners’ technologies use a combination of machine learning and static/dynamic analysis to detect abusive behavior. Multiple heuristic engines working in concert will increase our efficiency in identifying potentially harmful apps.

According to Google, this “secure two-way communication” results in an “open and collaborative atmosphere for partners and users,” and of course early detection.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: