Miércoles, 17 Octubre, 2018

Google cracks down on apps that misuse accessibility features

New Android 8.1 Oreo feature will address your storage space concerns Android 8.1 will reduce the size of inactive apps to save size
Eleena Tovar | 14 Noviembre, 2017, 12:45

On Android, these come under the umbrella of Accessibility Services, features that developers can take advantage of to help make their apps easier to use for those with disabilities.

According to reports, Google is now clamping down on those who use Accessibility Services "incorrectly" and is contacting app developers to ask them to explain how they make use of the features. "You can also choose to unpublish your app". Both app users and android devs were surprised at the new developments, considering the fact that many such apps have flourished for years without any intervention from Google. DoubleLocker ransomware and BankBot malware are also among those which exploit accessibility services to compromise Android devices. Once they gained such access, it was game over, as this allowed the malware to install itself as device admin, download and install other malware, and execute various operations in the phone's background. When these permissions are granted, a full-screen Toast notification is used to cloak the actual screen contents.

Developers are expected to show a visible explainer to users with how and why they're using that service. Your app must comply with our Permissions policy and the Prominent Disclosure requirements of our User Data policy. The impetus for this move appears to be existence of (now removed) apps in the Play Store which use Accessibility features in conjunction with a vulnerability patched as part of the September security update to install malware. Then after a specified time, the feature will mark apps that haven't been used in a while as inactive, and will downgrade their size by removing the cache files. And of course, Google doesn't like this, as some apps can even misuse the power of Accessibility services. The Google Play Support team requested developers to submit their clarifications within 30 days or face action. Popular automation/productivity app Tasker and battery-saving app Greenify are two more examples.

As you can see, this change will most likely affect hundreds if not thousands of applications on the Play Store. Apps installed through third-party stores are not affected.

Tasker's developer said that it will have to replace the accessibility services with different code.