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Google Play Store prepares Incognito Mode, and warnings for apps that can install unknown apps

Google Play Store prepares Incognito Mode, and warnings for apps that can install unknown apps

Category : Technology
10/9/2019 11:19:00 AM
By : midouyouness
The Google Play Store is one of the most important apps on your device (presuming you run Google’s Android), second only perhaps to Google Play Services. The Play Store forms the primary means of app distribution for most developers and the primary means of app discovery and maintenance for the average user. But primary does not mean exclusive, and both developers and users certainly have other mediums for distributing and downloading new apps. However, these mediums may pose a potential security risk to the end-user. Google is now preparing to have the Play Store warn you about apps that can install unknown apps in order to keep users informed, as well as testing an Incognito Mode setting.

Incognito Mode Google is refocusing on privacy and giving users control back over their data. More and more Google apps are receiving an Incognito Mode option to let users opt-out from having their data collected for that session. Google Play Store v17.0.11 contains new strings that indicate that the app will soon get its own Incognito Mode We expect Google to announce the rollout of this feature soon.


Warnings for active “Install Unknown Apps” permission In Android 9 Pie, Google removed the universal toggle that allowed the installation of apps from outside of the Google Play Store, or “unknown apps” as they are called. Instead, users now have to grant a permission to every app that tries to queue an APK for installation when such APK does not originate from the Play Store. For example, Fortnite is available on Android but is not distributed through the Play Store for financial reasons. Users need to download the Fortnite Installer from Epic Games’ website and then grant Chrome (or their browser of choice) the permission to sideload the Installer APK in order to queue the installation. Once you are done installing the Fortnite Installer, the installer recommends you revoke the permission from the browser in order to keep this gate closed and prevent silent misuse. The Google Play Store is likely building upon this concept, reminding users to revoke the sideloading permission from other apps to prevent apps from silently and maliciously misusing the same.


The Play Store is preparing to remind users to review the app installation permissions granted to other apps. We do not believe that this is intended to be a crackdown on sideloading apps on Android. Instead, this is very likely an attempt to close down a potential attack vector. Most users grant this permission and never bother to revoke it once their goals are achieved, which leaves the door open for potential misuse. Hopefully, Google’s reminders are not very aggressive to be a constant annoyance for those who regularly monitor their sideloading activities.

      
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