Malware is a serious concern for mobile devices. Android devices are especially vulnerable thanks to the platform's open nature. Now Google is making sure almost every Android device owner is adequately protected from malicious apps.
Computer World reports that Google has integrated an Android 4.2 feature called Verify Apps directly into the Google Play store. Now every Android device with Google Play will automatically scan every app you download and alert you upon finding anything out of the ordinary. It doesn't just apply to apps downloaded from Google Play either as the Verify Apps feature will scan sideloaded apps as well.
As you can probably already see, this makes Android a lot more secure than before. Before this update to Google Play, only Android devices sporting Android 4.2 had access to the Verify Apps feature. Now any device with Android 2.3 or higher will be able to scan for potentially malicious code.
So, how will the new Verify Apps feature work? Upon downloading an app from the Google Play store, the app will ask if you want to turn on the feature. If you agree, the app will then began to scan every app downloaded and alert you to any suspicious behavior before it's installed. Of course, you can always turn the feature off at any time.
The new Verify Apps feature joins what Google calls Bouncer in protecting Android users from bad apps. If you recall, Bouncer scans every app uploaded to the Google Play store and rejects those that contain malware. It's not perfect, of course, but the Verify Apps feature will protect you from the apps that somehow make it past Bouncer.
Oh, and if you're one of the lucky ones to get Android 4.3, you'll find that Google has implemented a third level of security to make the OS even more secure. It's called Security-Enhanced Linux and it makes it so that malware can't affect core system functionality. In other words, malware can't destroy your phone from the inside out on devices with Android 4.3.