Google offers Play app store bounty program

Pablo Tucker
October 20, 2017

Still, the presence of the malware-laced apps in the Google Play Store raises questions about Google's security protocols, which have been tightened in recent months but continue to allow attackers to sneak by unnoticed and rack up millions of downloads.

The program does not cover every app in the app repository, however.

Android TV tends to get placed on the backburner for not only third-party app developers but Google's own applications as well.

Google has opened a bug bounty program for its Play store to help it discover vulnerabilities and improve security.

Upon analysis, Symantec researchers found that the malware was aimed at generating illegitimate ad revenue by connecting the compromised device to an ad server and launching ad requests, despite there being no functionality within the app to display ads. "In addition to enabling arbitrary network attacks, the large footprint of this infection could also be leveraged to mount a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack". These new features are announced amid Google's annual Playtime series, which is comprised of live and online events where developers can speak out about successful strategies and other aspects of the business that could help other developers.

Google, and not the developers of these apps, will foot the bill for any bug reports security researchers find. Dubbed FunBaster, the operator has ensured that the app's code is obfuscated and key strings are encrypted which may explain how the apps managed to bypass Google's security processes to get onto Google Play in the first place.

Wednesday's post should serve as a reminder that Google is chronically unable to detect untrustworthy apps before allowing them into its official app bazaar.

The malware primarily targets the USA, but victims have also been spotted in Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, and Germany. The bright orange navigation panel has been replaced with a white one, a new search button makes it easier to find your favorite tunes, and the available navigation options have been greatly simplified.

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