Google Bans Cryptocurrency Mining Applications

Tech giants Google has reviewed its policies for developers, with that, it placed a ban on cryptocurrency mining applications on its Play Store. The news of the Google Play updated policies was first reported on Thursday by Android Police.

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Tech giants Google has reviewed its policies for developers, with that, it placed a ban on cryptocurrency mining applications on its Play Store. The news of the Google Play updated policies was first reported on Thursday by Android Police.

Google reviews Play Store policies

Google’s stance decision to ban cryptocurrency mining applications on its play store comes under a policy update for Google Play developers.

Google’s updated policy as it affects mining applications is similar to Apple’s which still allows mining applications if the processing happens in the cloud, but on-device mining is prohibited. The policy states:

“We don’t allow apps that MINE cryptocurrency on devices. We permit apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency,”

Along with crypto mining apps, repetitive apps are now prohibited in the Google Play store. These are apps that mimic or provide the same experience as apps that already exist on the platform.

Google has stated that apps can be removed if they copy content from another without adding any new or unique feature, or multiple apps that have similar content and user experiences.

From now, there would be no more copying of content from other apps without adding original or unique content or value, and no more multiple apps with the same content and user experience on the play store.

It Started with Mining Extensions

The ban on cryptocurrency miners in the Play Store follows a Google ban on cryptocurrency mining extensions on the Chrome Web Store.

In April, Google stopped accepting crypto mining extensions for Chrome, and delisted them in June altogether.

Google banned the use of Chrome mining extensions after discovering that more than 90 percent of the mining extension failed to inform users of their mining functionality.

Although the delisting altered its previous policy that allowed cryptocurrency mining apps as long as they sufficiently explained their purpose.

Possible reasons for the ban

The ban on crypto mining applications comes at a time when Google and Apple are both beefing up efforts to restrict activities related to cryptocurrency mining on their platforms.

The recent report from Skybox Security suggests that illicit cryptocurrency mining has now become more popular than ransomware.

Skybox reported that crypto miners now account for 32 percent of all cyber attacks, while ransomware only makes up 8 percent. At the end of 2017, those figures were almost exactly reversed.

Similarly, Kaspersky Lab said in its last month report that incidents of crypto-jacking – a scenario where hackers hijack a user’s device for crypto mining – spiked by 44.5 percent over the last 12 months.

Just a day before the policy update, ESET – an IT security company that offers anti-virus and firewall products, warned Google of three fake banking apps impersonating Indian banks on the play store.

The applications were designed to phish credit card number and online banking credentials using bogus forms and then leak them online in plaintext.

While the ban on crypto mining apps would be a great blow, the underlying facts and statistics could be the reason why the tech giants decided to move on with the decision.

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