Android 4.2 scans phones for nasty apps

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon

Google is hoping to crack down harder on malware in its latest Android release, with a new apps verification tool that scans all apps on a phone to create a database of malicious code that targets the ecosystem.

(Credit: Computerworld)

A blog on Computerworld recently spoke with Google's vice president of Android engineering Hiroshi Lockheimer, who explained that the new Verify Apps feature of Android release 4.2 was designed to complement security measures that are already in place for the platform.

Android's Play Store already has a similar system in place for rooting out malicious code in apps submitted to the store with a tool Google calls 'Bouncer'. While this protects the ecosystem on Google's side, individual phones are not protected from apps found in places other than the official marketplace. This new layer of app verification is designed primarily to scan apps that have been distributed independent of the store and side-loaded to a phone by its owner.

This new security couldn't come at a better time, according to cyber security firm F-Secure, which is reporting a huge rise in the number of unique malware samples it has detected, with over 50,000 new instances recorded in the third quarter of 2012 alone.

Has your phone ever been infected with a virus? For as much malware as there is being reported, real world instances are harder to find. Let us know in the comments below.

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