Navigate VPN Safety: Google Play Introduces Independent Security Review Badge
Google is taking innovative steps to enhance the protection of user data within Google Play, introducing a distinct designation of “Independent Security Review” in the Data Safety section.
Developers now have the opportunity to subject their Android applications to an independent security assessment under the MASA (Mobile Application Security Assessment) standard, instilling confidence in the app’s quality for users before downloading. VPN clients, handling extensive volumes of sensitive information, were among the first applications to undergo this security vetting.
MASA is an initiative enabling the security audit of mobile applications in line with international benchmarks, including the MASVS (Mobile Application Security Verification Standard). Applications passing such an audit are entitled to display a badge on the Play Market, signifying adherence to elevated security standards for users.
Google’s objective is to transform the “Data Safety” section into a comprehensive repository of application security information, elucidating the type and goals of data collection, as well as whether the information is shared with third parties.
Developers eager to amplify trust in their applications can engage one of six authorized laboratories. Following the testing of the public version of the app and remediation of identified security issues, the laboratory submits a verification report to Google. Upon approval, developers are permitted to add the badge to their applications. According to Google, on average, the process from initial assessment to badge acquisition spans approximately 2-3 weeks.
Google underscores that independent certification corroborates the developer’s commitment to best practices in security and privacy. However, the company cautions that even certified applications may harbor specific vulnerabilities, as no security system is entirely infallible. Hence, continual attention to security by developers remains a pivotal factor in safeguarding user data.