Google's 2014 Android Security State of the Union

This week Google has released their 2014 Android Security Year in Review, also known as their Android Security State of the Union. The year 2014 was big for Android in that there were two major updates to the ecosystem in a 12 month period, both Android 4.4 KitKat and a preview for Android L, what would eventually become Android 5.0 Lollipop. In this year, Google gave security a kick in the pants. Full disk encryption improvements, secure multi-user support, and improved authentication are just three of the collection of locks Google has snapped on their open mobile operating system Android.

Google's whitepaper for Android Security in 2014 includes analyzation of billions of data points gathered throughout the 2014 calendar year, providing insight into Google's publicized security protocols and actions.

One of the key pieces of this report is Google Play's security scans. According to Google, over 1 billion devices – smartphones, tablets, and etc, with Android are "protected with Google Play which conducts 200 million security scans of devices per day." Stay tuned for our separate report on what Google Play security scans are and what exactly it is they're scanning on your device.

Google also let loose the following "key findings" from the report:

• The overall worldwide rate of Potentially Harmful Application (PHA) installs decreased by nearly 50% between Q1 and Q4 2014.

• Fewer than 1% of Android devices had a Potentially Harmful App (PHA) installed in 2014.

• Fewer than 0.15% of devices that only install from Google Play had a PHA installed.

• SafetyNet checks over 400 million connections per day for potential SSL issues.

Google reported details of known spyware being installed on Android devices by apps side-loaded – installed outside of Google Play, that is to say. They're making an effort here to keep Google Play in the Android picture, of course.

Google is also making efforts to keep users on Google Chrome for Android. This is Google's own web browser made for and installed with every Google-approved Android build.

Inside Google's 2014 Android Security report, they suggest that because Safe Browsing was installed inside the 2014 calendar year, "Safe Browsing checked billions of page view per day during the period and on average, users were warned about a potential security issue affecting 1250 out of every 1 million user sessions."

Stay tuned as we continue to run down the report. For access to the full report, head to Google's release and click the word "report" in the third paragraph to access the PDF.