Modern Mobility

May 22 2017   4:41PM GMT

Google plays a strong hand with new Android security features

Alyssa Provazza Alyssa Provazza Profile: Alyssa Provazza

Apple iOS
Mobile security

Google last week announced Android security features that continue to heighten the company’s enterprise mobility game.

Enterprise security features from the big mobile operating systems, Google Android and Apple iOS, have been a hot topic for years. Now, with BlackBerry down for the count and cyberattacks becoming more advanced, new security capabilities from these OSes are more significant than ever.

Due to fragmentation and issues with malware, experts often saw Google’s OS as sub-par compared to Apple’s when it came to enterprise security. Not so much anymore. Android 7.0 Nougat added support for seamless updates, allowing the OS and apps to be patched in the background — making users less likely to avoid installing important security updates. The company in December even dropped the Android for Work brand name, given that most Android devices now ship with the enterprise security features built in.

All work and all Play

Google took further security steps at its I/O developer conference last week, with Play Protect and new features in the upcoming Android O.

Google Play Protect will be built into devices that have the Google Play store. The service continuously scans all apps on the device for vulnerabilities or other issues, and through machine learning, gathers information over time that allows it to intelligently find threats. Play Protect can also let users know if an app is dangerous and prevent them from downloading it or remove it from their device. The Verify Apps service did this previously, but the new service steps up the machine learning element and makes the scans more visible in the Play Protect app.

“For employees, Google Play Protect […] allows them to work confidently and productively without worrying about harmful apps,” said Travis McCoy, senior product manager at Google, in a blog post. “And using our Android enterprise management features, IT managers can enforce this protection by policy.”

Also in Android O, the code name for the next OS version, is improved IT control over file-based encryption, greater controls over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth restrictions, additional management capabilities around work profiles, and more. In a stand against ransomware, the OS will now close off permissions that previously would allow an attacker to take control of an infected device. Plus, developers can now build the ability for pop-up notifications to time out, or disappear after a certain amount of time on screen, providing more security for sensitive information that may appear.

Android O is now in public beta, so users, developers and IT admins will have plenty of chance to check out those and other new enterprise security features to see how Google is keeping up.

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  • jrooot
    Googles security features are so strong people cant even get into their OWN phones.  Android Device Manager has RUINED SO many ppls phones! Just google "ADM locked me out out of my phone". You go into it...set a pin.. then when you find your phone it will NOT recognize the pin.  There is no way to reset it or unlock it from Android Device Manager. I assume they never thought anyone would EVER find a lost phone??  And the only thing customer service can recommend is a factory reset.  It is the worst thing ever.  I talked to the ppl at google and the woman literally said "we don't recommend you use it".  Completely outrageous.  This issue has been going on for at least 2 years yet google and all the tech writers continue to ignore it. Why??
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