Google’s new Advanced Protection security features prevent sideloading

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Last updated: March 19th, 2020 at 14:53 UTC+02:00

Google is changing the way its Advanced Protection Program works, effective immediately, and has added two additional security measures to combat phishing and malware threats. The first new security addition to the program makes it so that Advance Protection users are prevented from sideloading mobile apps. The second one enables Play Protect app scanning automatically and prevents Advanced Protection Program members from disabling it.

Regarding the first change, Advanced Protection Program members are still able to install mobile apps from sources other than the Play Store, as long as they are acquired from digital storefronts that come pre-loaded with their phones. In other words, Galaxy smartphone owners who have signed up for the Advanced Protection Program can continue to install and download apps from the Galaxy Store without any difficulties. Sideloading apps, however, has become virtually impossible for these users.

As for the second change, Play Protect is a built-in malware protection for Android devices that leverages machine learning to scan 100 billion apps every day. Android OS users, including Galaxy smartphone owners, can enable or disable Google Play Protect at their leisure. However, those who are a part of the Advanced Protection Program no longer have the option of turning Play Protect off. Google wants to ensure that every app installed on a device secured by the Advanced Protection Program will take full advantage of this security feature.

These changes won’t affect you unless you are enrolled in the program

It’s important to keep in mind that these changes won’t affect you unless you are an Advanced Protection Program member. For non-members, sideloading apps and disabling Play Protect is still possible the same way as it’s always been.

This program was devised to offer extra protection for Google accounts owned by people who may be prominent targets of malware attacks and phishing scams, such as business leaders, political campaign teams, activists, journalists and so on. If you haven’t actively enrolled in the program, you need not worry about these changes.

Google customers and Galaxy smartphone owners who may want to enroll in the program can do so as long as they have a smartphone running Android 7.0 or later. Alternatively, they can purchase two security keys from Google and link them to their accounts. You can read more about the program on the official webpage.

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