August 1, 2018 – Google, the search engine giant, recently changed its Android Developer Policy stating that it will now straight out ban crypto-mining applications from the Google Play Store. It was a move that was foreseen to happen soon enough after the recent changes to both the Chrome Web Store and the Apple App Store last April and June, respectively.
The policy revision was similar to that made by Apple in the sense that mobile applications that mined cryptos on-device were banned but not the ones that allowed the user to control crypto-mining remotely on the cloud.
“We don’t allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices. We permit apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency.” -Statement from Google
Several reasons behind this radical change could have been due to the fact that today’s smartphones are not optimized to handle the strenuous processes of crypto-mining. The use of such applications that require a hefty amount of processing power could permanently damage your device’s processor and battery life. Despite the downside, in this example, the user voluntarily gives up his device’s processing power for crypto-mining when compared to the next case.
With cryptojacking, applications are masked to perform other tasks however the user is not explicitly aware that their device is already being used for crypto-mining by the sly developer. Despite the Google Play Store having a security feature to scan applications before being deployed for users to download, several application still seem to slip past the malware scans and are able to insert malicious lines of code that allow your phone to mine cryptocurrency without your consent. In April, a study was conducted wherein apps that secretly mined cryptos were found to have been downloaded for over a 100,000 times. With that in mind, this problem had been prevalent for years and Google thinks that through the banning of crypto-mining apps, this would be a step to catching shady developers and their cryptojacking schemes.
The new policies might stop crypto-mining however this may not be the most optimal solution for tackling against the more shady and prevalent issue on cryptojacking.
Through this ban, this caused a slight decline to the trading of several cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin. -Decentrist.