Google Begins Blocking Sideloading of Potentially Dangerous Android Apps in Singapore

February 08, 2024NewsroomData Protection / Mobile Securit

Android Apps

Google unveiled a new pilot program in Singapore that aims to prevent users from sideloading certain apps that abuse Android app permissions to read one-time passwords and collection of sensitive data.

“This enhanced fraud protection will analyze and automatically block the installation of apps that may use sensitive runtime permissions that are often abused for financial fraud when the user tries to install the app from a source that sideloads the Internet (web browsers, messaging apps or file managers), ” the company SAYS.

The feature is designed to check the permissions declared by a third-party app in real-time and detect those trying to gain access to sensitive permissions related to reading SMS messages, deciphering or dismiss notifications from legitimate apps, and accessibility services that are often abused by Android-based malware for obtaining valuable information.


As part of the test, users in Singapore who try to sideload such apps (or APK files) will be blocked from doing so by Google Play Protect and will be shown a pop-up message that reads: “This app may request access to sensitive data. This may increase the risk of identity theft or financial fraud.”

“These permissions are often abused by fraudsters to intercept one-time passwords via SMS or notifications, as well as to spy on screen content,” said Eugene Liderman, director of security strategy. on Google mobile.

The change is part of a concerted effort to combat mobile fraud, the tech giant said, urging app developers to follow best practices and review permissions. on the device of their apps to ensure that it does not violate the Principles of Mobile Unwanted Software.

Android Apps

Google, which launched Google Play Protect real-time code-level scanning to detect new Android malware in select markets such as India, Thailand, Singapore, and Brazil, said the effort allowing it to detect 515,000 new malicious apps and that it issues the least. than 3.1 million warnings or blocks of apps.

Progress also comes as Apple Office has partnered changes to the App Store in the European Union to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) before the March 6, 2024, is the deadline. The changes, including Notarization for iOS apps, are expected to go live in iOS 17.4.


The iPhone maker, however, emphasized over and over again that the distribution of iOS apps from alternative app markets exposes EU users to “increased threats to privacy and security,” and that it does not intend to bring them to other regions .

“This includes new methods for malware, fraud and scams, illegal and harmful content, and other threats to privacy and security,” Apple SAYS. “These changes also compromise Apple’s ability to detect, prevent, and take action against malicious iOS apps and support users affected by issues with apps downloaded outside of the App store.”

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