Android is Google’s mobile operating platform that is harnessed by billions of devices across the globe.
The software is regularly updated by the firm, meaning new features and improvements are consistently introduced.
Google regularly emphasises the security of Android as one of its most appealing characteristics.
In fact, the firm recently highlighted how it combated “bad apps and malicious developers” last year in a detailed blog post.
However, it appears certain programmes installed on user devices may be putting them in jeopardy.
Express.co.uk recently spoke with McAfee’s Raj Samani and Gary Davis who jointly highlighted the problem of what they dubbed “dead apps”.
Samani is a McAfee fellow and chief scientist while Davis is the firm’s chief consumer security evangelist.
The term dead apps was used to refer to a programme that no longer exists on the Google Play Store but is still installed on user devices.
Samani was eager to highlight the fact Google does not currently alert users when a particular application they have installed has been discontinued.
He said: “If you’re downloading an app from an authorised app store, it does not mean there is no chance the app is malicious.
“In fact Google is a great case in point, over the course of 2018 there has been a lot, I mean an awful lot of apps, a good couple hundred apps that we found as well that have malicious capabilities.
“Equally, you’ve got to also look at your phone and see if there are any dead apps as well. So where it’s been pulled down as well.
“And I think that is the one thing they haven’t done, Google, they haven’t gone back and said ‘hey, by the way that app has now been pulled from the app store, you might want to delete it from your phone now’.”
Meanwhile, Davis noted discontinued applications still have the ability to collect data and send it to third-parties without the user knowing.
Additionally, he insisted Android should be updated to identify software that is no longer on the Google Play Store to inform the user of the potential risks they may pose.
Davis remarked: “What happens is those apps can still be collecting data they are sending off, and Google is not applying any updates to get rid of that app.
“I think there’s no reason why the operating system shouldn’t be smart enough to say ‘hey listen, you have 200 or so apps, which is average, and here are five that are discontinued, dead apps’…and they are automatically deleted from your phone.”
Risks associated with discontinued apps can be mitigated by uninstalling them.
If users want to take an extra precaution to ensure their device does not contain any harmful materials from the software in question, they can perform a hardware scan using a security programme.