Google Addresses Android's Biggest Security Problem: Accessibility Services

Android

Android

Besides this, Google seems to have included a feature in the Android 8.1 Oreo update that will address this pain point that exists now. But in case you don't need it, then you have the option to either close the app and turn location services off to conserve your battery life. If they are unable to convince the company within 30 days of receiving the mail, their apps will be taken down in the Play Store. LastPass, Universal Copy, Clipboard Actions, Cerberus, Tasker, and Network Monitor Mini are just a few examples of applications heavily using this API.

Why Google has chosen now to crack down on this widespread practice is unknown, and we can only think that it is the tip of a bigger iceberg, perhaps related to misuse for more nefarious purposes.

Google's reason for the crackdown likely stems from the simple fact that developers can use Accessibility Services to affect the behavior of other apps with their apps. Navigating to "Files" tab, users will be greeted by "Downloads", "Received files", "Images", "Videos", "Audio", and "Documents" where the app has automatically organised all your smartphone folders in the given categories. That could include passwords and other sensitive information.

This is not like a major update for the users who are having low space issues on their phones, however this feature will definitely help you out with some free space on the device upgraded to Android 8.1 update. This information can easily be used within a nefarious app or for harmful purposes. If an app developer used the technique of LastPass for a malicious app, giving that access level on your device would be harmful. If yes, why aren't they being removed as well? Many apps can get by harbouring less than one megabyte of cached data, while others like Chrome can rack up far more (it now has a 685 MB cache on my device).

The apps and developers in violation of these rules could have their developer account removed. While the move by Google is understandable, it threatens to remove some of the most used and innovative apps on the Play Store. Is an app like AutoInput (an app that helps a lot of disabled folks) not allowed because a lot of non-disabled people can benefit from it too? We will have to wait and see how the 30 day window works out, and if Google will begin removing those apps not in compliance as soon as the 30 days is over.

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