Artificial Intelligence Helps Detect Malware on Android

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Google’s artificial intelligence technology is succeeding at detecting malware on Android devices, but it still needs some level of human supervision.

In keeping efforts to get rid of Android malware, tech giant Google has again turned to artificial intelligence for an ultimate solution.

In addition to detecting and dealing with malware, the company also intended to use machine learning to improve the overall user experience in the Play Store. It also protects Android users from downloading virus-infected apps or any other malicious software.

Most Google products use artificial intelligence to enhance their security and usability. Android smartphone users should also expect the same results being replicated on the Play Store.

How Artificial Intelligence Helps with Security

According to Adrian Ludwig, Google’s head of Android security, the system works using telemetry data from different devices. With this data, the technology can determine which apps to install and which ones to ignore.

Using this information, the artificial intelligence-powered system can also learn the behavior of different mobile apps in the Play Store and determine whether you should install them or not.

However, the technology does not function as a firewall. In fact, it strikes some similarities with the working mechanism of a credit card business.

We all know that credit card companies do not get rid of risks. They can only manage them and ensure that your life is not disrupted in any way. Android’s artificial intelligence security system works similarly. The way a credit card company classifies risks using the available data is the same way that the Android AI security technology helps detect malicious software.

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The number of infected devices has drastically gone down, and this is attributed to the effectiveness of the machine learning security feature.

The only difference is that unlike in credit card business where the risks are classified into different categories, Android’s anti-malware artificial intelligence technology only classifies risks as either safe or unsafe. There is no gray area.

More than two billion devices worldwide use Android’s artificial intelligence-powered anti-malware technology. This security feature is installed through Google Play Protect, the company’s security service that is dedicated to protecting Android devices from common threats.

According to Ludwig, the number of infected devices has drastically gone down, and this is attributed to the effectiveness of the machine learning security feature. At the beginning of 2017, about .6 percent of Android devices had been infected by malicious apps. By the end of the third quarter of the year, the figure had dropped to .25 percent, and this is because of the artificial intelligence security software.

Unmasking Malicious Apps

For years, Google has been concerned with the issue of cyber attacks. But a barrier kept the company from addressing the problem in its own products: malicious software works by hiding behind good apps, making it difficult to detect and deal with them accordingly.

Traditional cyber security solutions proved ineffective in dealing with this issue, and this forced Google to introduce artificial intelligence or machine learning technology. The AI-based security tool analyzes safety and privacy features of each app in the Play Store to identify potential risks.

Using machine learning techniques, the software studies other apps and classifies them into different categories depending on their functionalities. It also categorizes apps based on their metadata, number of downloads and other performance data.

This software conducts scans on a daily basis, and if it encounters an app that exhibits abnormal behavior that stands out from other apps of the same categories, the system flags it. For instance, if an app keeps asking for a particular permission but its peers don’t, it will be marked as malicious.

Unfortunately, malware outbreaks are very common in Google’s app marketplace. If you go to the Google Play Store and select any category, you will notice that several apps are not genuine. They are full of advertisements, and their sources cannot be verified.

It seems Google is working to clear this negative reputation by showing the company is dedicated to protecting Android users from apps that will harm their devices’ security.

It’s also apparent that Google is doing so bearing in mind that the adverse effects of malicious software cannot be underestimated. These apps can steal your private data and bombard you with frequent ads.

Although Google is not the first company to use artificial intelligence to fight cyber threats, it has the advantage of numbers. There are billions of Android users from different socioeconomic classes across the world, and thus the impact of the software is felt by many.

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