Financial fraud has cost mobile users one billion dollars in 2023, with at least 78 percent of users experiencing scams last year, according to the ‘Global State of Scams’ Report. These frauds often use social engineering tactics to deceive victims by creating a sense of urgency or offering quick rewards. This can cause users to forget security measures and provide sensitive data such as digital account credentials or even transfer money.
Google has responded to this threat by announcing the testing of new protections against financial fraud apps that are downloaded from sources other than the Play Store. These protections will analyze and block app installations if they are found to be abusing permissions. The improved protection will first be launched in Singapore in the coming weeks, with a focus on four permissions: SMS reception, SMS reading, notifications, and accessibility. These permissions are often abused by fraudulent apps to intercept one-time passwords through SMS or notifications, as well as spy on the content of the screen.
When a user attempts to download an app that is blocked by the new protection, they will see an information screen that provides a brief explanation for the blocking. This new protection aims to enhance the overall security of the Android platform and protect users from falling victim to financial fraud.