According to Google, more than 95% of malicious Android apps captured by Google Play Protect target older versions of Android. Malicious application creators do so to avoid runtime permissions even when they are installed on devices with the latest version of Android.
Things get more complicated and more dangerous when you download apps from sources other than Google Play Store.
To fight this, by the end of the year, Google Play Protect will warn users if they are trying to install an application from any source that does not target the Android API level 26 or higher. In other words, if you try to install an application with a recent update that is not targeting Android 8.0 Oreo or later, a warning message informing you that the application could be dangerous will appear.
Google hopes that this warning will "shame" developers to update their applications to the latest API levels, while preventing at least some users from proceeding with the installation of what could be a malicious application.
This change will affect installed applications from any source, such as Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, and other competing application stores. It will also affect side loading facilities like those at Epic Games, where millions of Android users download Fortnite.
In the Google Play Store, things will be even stricter. For new Play Store applications and apps receiving new updates in 2020, developers will need to target the API level 28 or higher, ie Android 9 Pie. Since Google controls the Play Store, it can go directly to developers who do not comply.
Old applications that are not updated will not be affected by these new rules and applications designed for older versions of Android will also be allowed.
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