Google is working to improve the integrity of the Play Store by adding new restrictions.
Google is working to improve the integrity of the Play Store by adding new restrictions and protections to developer accounts. Google Play Store developers will soon have to verify their email address, phone number and provide additional details, such as a physical address, in an effort to increase security and ensure that accounts are created by “real people.”
Developers should also use two-step verification. The search giant says it’s making the changes “to keep Google Play safe and secure and to better serve our developer community,” and to “ensure that every account is created by a real person with real contact information.”
The record reports:
That the announcement coincides with the emergence of a cottage industry of merchants that will create large numbers of developer accounts that others can use to upload malware and other scammy apps to the Play Store.
A screenshot of a cybercrime forum post published by The record shows that these accounts sell for $89 each.
“To keep Google Play safe and secure and to better serve our developer community”
Will it make it harder for scammers?
Meanwhile, the two-step verification requirement should make it harder for scammers to break into and steal legitimate developer accounts. It reflects a similar change that the search giant announced earlier this year for regular Google accounts, where it will now enable two-factor authentication by default.
The changes are significant compared to Google’s current developer account policy, which only requires new logins to provide an email address and phone number. Details such as a physical address “will not be made public,” the company says, and is intended solely to “help us confirm and communicate your identity.”
Google is introducing the new requirements in phases.
It says that starting today, account owners will have the option to set their account type as personal or business and verify their contact information. Then, in August, all new sign-ups must follow the same steps when creating their accounts and using two-step verification. “Later this year” the changes will be fully implemented for all existing accounts.
The changes come amid a wider crackdown on scammy apps in the Play Store, barring developers from using cheap tactics in their listings to encourage installs. App listings can no longer use eye-catching features like capitalization or emoji in their titles, or include phrases like “download now.”