A research paper just published by NortonLifeLock analysed details of app installations on 12 million Android devices and determined that most malware and unwanted apps are actually downloaded from the Google Play store.
The research paper examined the installation details of almost 8 million different apps onto 12 million devices during the Autumn of 2019 and reveals that two thirds of all unwanted applications are downloaded from the Google Play store (that is: malware and potentially-unwanted-programs broadly recognised as such by anti-virus vendors).
This is interesting to security managers as it belies the assumption that the Google Play store is a safe and trusted source of Android applications and it may be unwise to give permission for staff to download their choice of apps from Google Play onto corporate devices. The data analysed for the paper was supplied by anti-virus software running on the Android devices – meaning all the detected installed malware was present despite there being anti-virus software running on the device.
The paper concludes with what the authors describe as a conservative observation that almost 20% of all Android devices have unwanted apps or malware installed.