Android devs must now provide personal details and use 2FA

Google sets out stricter requirements for Play Store developers to limit malicious apps uploaded to the Android marketplace

Developers uploading applications to Google’s Play Store for Android-powered devices must subscribe to two-factor authentication (2FA) and provide a number of personal details in a bid to improve security. 

When creating a new Google Play developer account, users will be required to supply an email address and a phone number, in addition to a contact name, physical address, and verification of personal contact information. 

Users will, in addition, be required to stipulate whether their account is personal or belongs to an organisation. This is optional for now but will be enforced for any account owners wanting to update their contact information. 

“Over the past few years, Google Play has seen tremendous growth,” said product manager at Google Play, Luke Jefferson and product manager at Google Play Trust and Safety, Raz Lev.

“Android apps and games have become a critical part of people’s lives, built by developers of all sizes from all over the world, whether professionally or just for fun.

“To keep Google Play safe and secure and to better serve our developer community, we are introducing two new security measures. 

“These measures will help strengthen your account security and will help us better understand your needs.”

From August, all new developer accounts will need to specify their account type and verify contact information at sign-up. Later this year, all existing developer account owners will be subject to these requirements.

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Google is also mandating that users of Google Play Console must sign in using 2FA, as an additional layer of protection.

The company is implementing these measures in order to drastically improve the cyber security hygiene of the Play Store, which has developed a notorious streak for inadvertently hosting several malicious applications at any one time.

Last year, for example, researchers identified thousands of instances of Mandrake spyware masquerading as legitimate apps on the Play Store, which all remained undetected for four years. Researchers also found six apps embedded with Joker fleeceware on the marketplace, with these apps boasting 200,000 installs.

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