Staying safe 1

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Fraudsters and criminals increasingly use malicious apps to steal money and account information as more people use mobile banking or money management.

Scammers send you phishing emails to trick you into downloading a fake app designed to steal your financial information. They do this either by monitoring or by pretending to be a real app. These messages can appear to be from a well-known company like a delivery service or bank and may require immediate action to solve an issue. Scams of this type affect people around the world, and they have increased in frequency over the past few years.

Android has built-in security features.

Android has always allowed users to download apps from a variety of sources. We’ve added multiple layers of warnings and protections to keep you safe when downloading apps from sources other than the established app stores.

In honor of International Fraud Awareness Week, here is a look at the multi-layered security defenses we have built into our apps and a reminder of how to use them to protect yourself in everyday life.

Phone by Google: Phone protects against voice phishing, scams, and fraud with caller ID and spam protection. We’ll block harmful calls or alert you to suspicious callers who might be trying to trick you into downloading a malicious app or sharing sensitive data. Think twice before answering if you see an alert. Google Assistant on Pixel phones can answer unknown numbers, find out why they are calling, and even determine if you should pick up.

Google Messages and Gmail: We employ AI to detect suspicious messages. We do this by assessing the reputation and patterns of the sender and by looking at dangerous links. We will either block the messages automatically or clearly flag them with a warning. You should proceed with caution if you see a message that has been flagged, especially before clicking links or attachments.

Google Safe Browsing Safe Browsing offers more protection when a link appears to be legitimate. If the site seems to be dangerous or attempting a phishing attack, we’ll alert you. Click on “Go Back to Safety” to avoid bad places.

Chrome warns users against downloading Android (APK), which may be harmful.

Chrome download alerts: chrome warns when you are about to download an Android (APK). It’s possible that you don’t realize a link will trigger the download of an application. Consider whether you really need this app. If so, check out reputable app stores that are more likely to enforce standards for app quality and security.

Android unknown source: Android requires that you opt-in to allow installs from unknown resources, which means any distribution mechanism outside of the Google Play Store or other pre-loaded app stores. This ensures you don’t accidentally download apps but instead make a conscious decision to install the app. Some bad actors will try to trick users into installing malware by tricking them into allowing installs through their web browsers or messaging apps. Be careful when someone asks that of you, and make sure that the source is one you can trust. Try downloading the app from an app store, if possible.

Google Play Protect proactively scans for harmful apps.

Google Play Protect Play Protect offers an extra layer of protection in real-time for apps that are installed outside of Google Play. Google Play Protect will run a real-time scan of any app that you are trying to install. It will warn you if the app has been flagged as malicious in our app database or is suspect based on signals. Google Play Protect recommends a Real-Time Scan of apps that have never been scanned so we can alert you if malicious code is found. Use this option to learn more about the app you are installing before you do. This new real-time threat scanning began in India last week and has now expanded to Singapore, Brazil, and Thailand. Since its launch, real-time scanning has detected 11,000 potentially harmful apps. It had blocked or warned users nearly 300,000 times when they attempted to install these apps.

Android restricts settings for apps that ask to change critical device settings.

Restricted Settings Android 13 offers even greater protection against apps that come from unknown sources and ask you to alter critical device settings. We require that you enable specified locations for any apps asking for accessibility access. Malicious actors can use this to spy or manipulate your device. This is not recommended, so confirm again that you can trust the developer.

Staying safe on Android

We are constantly improving Android protection and warnings in order to protect you against fraud and other mobile bank scams. Android gives you the freedom to select which apps to install and where they come from. But be sure to take advantage of our safety features that will help you make informed choices and protect your data.

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