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Google will remove apps that misuse Android Accessibility Services from Google Play

14 Noviembre 2017

Are you an Android device user who is exhausted of clearing the storage space on your smartphone in order to install app updates, new apps and receive OTA updates?

Android's Accessibility Services has been widely used by app developers to create apps that are better suited for users with disabilities. For example, the Accessibility Service can mimick taps and swipes on UI elements to navigate users through various screens. As you can imagine, services that allow for things like saying a password out loud could be misused by malicious apps or developers. "I plan to replace app detection with usage stats API", they wrote on a Google forum.

Accessibility services are now often found in banking trojans, mobile ransomware strains, click-fraud bots, adware, and about any other malware category.

Some of these apps could stop using accessibility services without losing much in the way of important functionality, but those which require it to deliver their apps' core features could be in a pickle.

The company is asking developers to provide a good reason explaining the need to use the services in their apps.

While this will likely aid in reducing the amount of malicious apps in the Play Store, the move does not affect third-party Android app stores, therefore still leaving others vulnerable towards attacks; still, the initiative is a welcome move towards removing innocuous-looking programs that are out to steal information from unsuspecting users. Your app must comply with our Permissions policy and the Prominent Disclosure requirements of our User Data policy. Another option for devs who are using the API is to remove any requests for accessibility services within their app. The Google Play Support team requested developers to submit their clarifications within 30 days or face action.

Google hopes that this new requirement will make it harder for banking trojans to slip into its official Play Store. Some Android skins, like the one on the Galaxy S8, and some apps, like Greenify, already make it possible to detect which applications are draining your phone's battery.

Developers have been provided with a 30-day deadline to clear out their Accessibility Services issue so we will have to wait and see what happens.

Google will remove apps that misuse Android Accessibility Services from Google Play