Google is committed to protecting the security and privacy of all Android users. Keeping more than 1.4 billion devices safe starts with a strong foundation—the core Android platform—which is strengthened by regular security updates for the platform, applications, and devices and constantly evolving security services that monitor and protect the ecosystem.
In 2016, Google worked closely with device manufacturers, system on a chip (SoC) providers, and telecom carriers to release security patches to more devices than ever before. We made key security features like data encryption and verified boot the standard for over one hundred million users. In addition to making devices more secure, we actively protected users from application threats by reducing the impact of Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs) inside and outside of Google Play and improving the quality of security in hundreds of thousands of applications. Overall, devices, apps, and users are safer than ever.
Looking forward to 2017, we’re working to increase the number of patched Android devices and accelerate adoption of key platform security features. We believe that advances in machine learning and automation can help reduce PHA rates significantly in 2017, both inside and outside of Google Play.
This is Google’s third annual report on Android’s security protections. The report covers new and updated features, provides metrics that informed our view of Android security, and discusses trends around security for Android devices in 2016.
Google security services for Android
Devices with Google Mobile Services (GMS) are protected straight out of the box by a complete set of endpoint security and antivirus services. This set includes both cloud-based and pre-installed on-device services that use real-time data from the Android ecosystem to understand the security environment. Because Google’s security services generally don’t require firmware or platform-level patches to update, they provide a first line of defense against evolving security threats.