Google published its Android Security 2014 Year in Review report. The search giant proudly announces malware on the Android platform was cut in half over the course of 2014. Google claims only 1 percent of Android devices had a harmful app installed in 2014, but this is primarily due to third-party app stores and pirated apps. The number falls to 0.15 percent when looking at devices that exclusively download apps via the Google Play store.
The security report also confirms that Google is tracking apps via Verify Apps, a feature that scans all apps on your device regardless of where they come from. Google claims these scans only collect data needed to provide and improve device security, and that a full device scan is performed about once a week. Verify Apps has existed for a few years but last year Google expanded the project to scan all apps regardless where they come from.
“Google’s systems use machine learning to see patterns and make connections that humans would not,” Google explains. “Google Play analyzes millions of data points, asset nodes, and relationship graphs to build a high-precision security-detection system.”
Verify Apps has been active for a few years, but it was in 2014 that Google added the Safety Net, which scans all apps regardless of where they come from. Google says that full device scans run about once a week, and by the end of 2014, well over 200 million devices were being scanned every day.
If you don't want Google to do this, you can turn the feature off by going to Settings -> Security and tapping the button labeled “Scan device for security threats.”