Reduce Google Play app security risks or watch your brand die

Dan Kobialka, FierceDeveloperAre your Google Play apps secure? If not, they could put your end users as well as your brand reputation and revenues at risk.

Fortunately, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has introduced the Google Play App Security Improvement Program designed to help developers enhance the security of their apps.

Eric Davis, senior product manager for Google's Android Security Team, offers a full explanation about how the new program works here

The program consists of two components: providing developers with security tips they can use to improve app security, and helping developers identify possible security upgrades when they upload their apps to Google Play. 

Google's new program can help developers address security issues before they upload their apps to the Google Play Developer Console. It may help reduce app security risks for Android users and empower developers to deliver better user experiences as well. 

Conversely, the App Security Improvement Program cannot substitute for a security-centric approach to app development. 

Developers must prioritize security; otherwise, they put themselves and end users in danger. However, there are many ways to reduce Android security risks, including:

  • Try not to rely on third-party software -- Third-party software may cause fragmentation, which occurs if older versions of an app are running on an operating system. Fragmentation may force an end user to miss out on critical app security updates, but developers who avoid third-party software as much as possible can eliminate this issue.

  • Focus on backend security -- Mikael Albrecht, security specialist at antivirus vendor F-Secure Labs, told FierceDeveloper that a "security mindset" in which an Android developer incorporates security into the entire planning, development and maintenance process is vital. With this mindset, a developer can incorporate advanced security into the backend of an app immediately. 

  • Examine malware trends -- Staying up to date on Android malware trends may help a developer find ways to minimize the risk of cybersecurity issues.

Of course, initiatives like the Google Play App Security Improvement Program can make it easier for Android developers to improve app security, too. These initiatives often encourage developers to work together, create secure apps and maintain app security for an extended period of time. 

Deploy a security-centric approach to Android development. By doing so, you may be able to launch secure apps that meet end users' needs consistently. -- Dan