Google has initiated a new initiative called 'enhanced fraud protection' in collaboration with Google Play Protect to provide a stronger defense against financial fraud attacks for Android users. The pilot program is set to be launched in Singapore in the upcoming weeks in partnership with the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA). "As part of a continued strategic partnership with the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), we will launch this first pilot in Singapore in the coming weeks to help keep Android users safe from mobile financial fraud," Google said.
As per the company's statement, the improved fraud protection will assess and automatically prevent the installation of applications that might exploit sensitive runtime permissions commonly misused for financial fraud. This action occurs when users try installing the application from sources outside the official app store, such as web browsers, messaging apps, or file managers. "This enhancement will inspect the permissions the app declared in real-time and specifically look for four runtime permission requests: RECEIVE_SMS, READ_SMS, BIND_Notifications, and Accessibility," the company said.
Scammers often exploit these permissions to intercept one-time passwords through SMS or notifications and monitor on-screen activities. Google's examination of significant fraud malware types, which capitalize on these sensitive runtime permissions, revealed that more than 95 percent of installations originate from sources outside the official app store. "Through such partnerships with technology players like Google, we are constantly improving our anti-scam defenses to protect Singaporeans online and safeguard their digital assets," said Chua Kuan Seah, Deputy Chief Executive of CSA.
Based on findings from the Global Anti-Scam Alliance's 2023 Global State of Scams Report, 78 percent of mobile device respondents reported encountering at least one scam in 2023. Among those surveyed, 45 percent indicated increased scam encounters over the past 12 months.