About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use DMCA Opt-out of personalized ads
© Copyright 2023 Market Realist. Market Realist is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.

Google's Anti-Scam Protection: Android Users In Singapore Won't Be Able To Install Unverified Apps

The fraud protection feature will block the installation of apps that exploit permissions for fraud.
Cover Image Source: Logo of Google Inc | Getty Images | Photo by Smith Collection
Cover Image Source: Logo of Google Inc | Getty Images | Photo by Smith Collection

Google is piloting an enhanced feature for financial fraud protection via its Play Protect services. For this project, the tech giant has partnered with the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA). In its official blog post published on Tuesday, Google claimed that "this enhanced fraud protection has undergone testing by the Singapore government." The company further stated that the enhanced fraud protection feature will analyze apps and block specific requests that may exploit sensitive runtime permissions to scam users.

Photo illustration of the the logos Google apps | Getty Images | Photo illustration by Chesnot
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Chesnot

As per Google, the enhanced fraud protection feature will analyze and automatically block the installation of apps that attempt to exploit permissions that are abused for financial fraud. The company mentioned that the software will look for four runtime permission requests: RECEIVE_SMS, READ_SMS, BIND_Notifications, and Accessibility.

When a user in Singapore attempts to install an application from a source other than Google Play, the feature will analyze the app and look for the specified four permission requests. In case any such requests are found, the feature will display the message "App blocked by Play Protect" along with a message explaining that the app is requesting sensitive data, which can facilitate identity theft or fraud. 

These permissions are often abused by fraudsters to intercept one-time passwords via SMS or notifications, or by spying on screen content. The feature will not allow the user to install any malicious apps from web browsers, messaging apps, or file managers.


According to the 2023 Global State of Scams Report by the Global Anti-Scam Alliance, individuals across the globe lost about $1 trillion to financial fraud. The report revealed that 78% of mobile users surveyed experienced at least one scam in the last year, and 45% felt they experienced more scams in the past 12 months.

"The fight against online scams is a dynamic one. As cybercriminals refine their methods, we must collaborate and innovate to stay ahead," said Chua Kuan Seah, Deputy Chief Executive of CSA. Google will continue working with the CSA to closely monitor the results of the pilot program and make adjustments based on the assessment.

Meanwhile, developers are advised to review their app permissions and follow best practices to ensure compliance with the Mobile Unwanted Software principles.


Scammers frequently use social media, text messaging apps, email, and other forms of communication to deceive mobile users. Most of them create a false sense of urgency to fool people into risking their finances. These cybercriminals even convince users to disable security safeguards and ignore proactive warnings by creating fake scenarios or pretending to be representatives of firms or government agencies.

In the blog, Google explained that a large percentage of users ignore or are tricked into dismissing the proactive Android platform warnings before installing malicious apps. This leads to users losing confidential information like their security codes, passwords, and financial information. 

Previously, Google launched Play Protect’s Real-Time Scanning service, which checks installations and warns users about apps known to be malicious. According to a 9to5Google report, this feature has made a significant impact on user safety in countries like India, Thailand, Singapore, and Brazil, identifying over 515,000 new malicious apps and issuing over 3.1 million warnings or blocks.