Google threatens to remove popular apps that use accessibility services

New Android 8.1 Oreo feature will address your storage space concerns

New Android 8.1 Oreo feature will address your storage space concerns

Are you an Android device user who is exhausted of clearing the storage space on your smartphone in order to install app updates, new apps and receive OTA updates?

Google is an email said, "We are contacting you because your app, BatterSaver System Shortcut, with package name is requesting accessibility services should only be used to help users with disabilities use Android devices and apps". You can also go check which apps you've granted accessibility access to and whether you trust them or not.

As per XDA Developers, the Android 8.1 Oreo update has a new feature that will automatically flag apps as inactive and will deprioritize the cache files for the specific app. DoubleLocker ransomware and BankBot malware are also among those which exploit accessibility services to compromise Android devices.

The likes of Tasker, LastPass and Universal Copy are among the titles that make use of the Accessibility Services API, and they have been warned to either explain why they are using the API, stop using the API, or unpublish their app. When these permissions are granted, a full-screen Toast notification is used to cloak the actual screen contents. Anyone else will have 30 days to meet the services' guidelines or risk being removed from the Play Store.

Google plans to remove all apps that do not comply with its " Permissions policy and Prominent Disclosure requirements", the search giant announced. There is an active thread on Reddit where developers and app users are complaining, particularly about the fact that Google is only allowing 30 days for compliance.

For example, the Svpeng banking Trojan abuses the feature to steal text entered into the phone's apps, open URLs and read text messages and to grant itself additional rights.

In addition, this change will affect only the distribution of malware via the official Play Store.

Failure to explain why an app needs the use of the accessibility services API could potentially see apps removed from the Google Play store. Apps installed through third-party stores are not affected. Android has various Accessibility Services that can be used by the developers to improve their apps, but some apps like the LastPass have been using these services for creating a unique overlay on the UI and also control other apps.

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