This New Android Feature Will Fight Malware and Secure Your Phone

Android is getting a new ‘panic’ detection mode which will enhance the security of smartphones that run Android Nougat 7.1. The panic detection mode isn’t what it sounds like, rather it will fight malware on the device.

The new Android ‘Panic’ detection feature will automatically identify and override a malicious app which is trying to take over control of your phone’s display via accessibility permission and restore the home screen.

According to a report by XDA Developers, the new anti-malware feature that has been baked into the latest Android Nougat operating system tries to identify the malicious behaviour of a downloaded app — like multiple back button presses in succession — and revokes permissions of the app.

In all likeliness, in addition to getting the device’s control back from a malware-ridden app, the ‘Panic’ detection feature might also uninstall the app with the user’s permission.

Although the feature wasn’t advertised by Google, XDA Developers found it in Android’s open source code.

Android Nougat’s Safety Features

With the rise in threats to the Android ecosystem, over the years Google has been working on enhancing the security features of Android OS and in addition to the ‘Panic’ detection mode, Android Nougat also houses the following security features.

  • Safety Blinders have been implemented as an additional security layer between apps which ensures that none of the apps can identify if some other app is active or not.
  • Lockscreen Password has to be active prior to the installation of ransomware containing app. Setting up your PIN/Pattern/Passcode before a harmful app is installed ensure that the app doesn’t misuse system permission to change the password and lock you out of the device.
  • Android Nougat has been designed to protect you from Clickjacking — a technique which would hide the harmful link behind a permission dialogue box. Clicking on these sneaky links can give the attacker access to your device.

Play Store Security and App Sandboxing

Google already analyses the legitimacy of apps before they go up on the Play Store via its security system and filters out any potentially harmful applications (PHAs).

In May this year, Google added Play Protect feature to its app store which doesn’t need user intervention but is an automated security feature embedded into the Google Play services of every device which works in the background around the clock.

In addition to that, Android OS includes Application Sandbox technology, which ensures that an app can not use data that is being stored by another app. Per se, if your device is infected with a fraudulent ransomware app, it won’t be able to access the data of other apps or even the system resources.

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