Google Play Store blocks interstitial ads, VPN hijacking
Google announced a new Play Store policy for Android developers to crack down on interstitial ads, VPNs, and bogus apps disguised as genuine software.
Beginning September 30, 2022, the Play Store will require developers to stop showing “full-screen, fullscreen ads”, such as those displayed while playing a game or while loading an application. Additionally, interstitial ads that cannot be closed after 15 seconds will be banned.
The new rules will not apply to rewarded ads such as in-app pop-ups that users can choose to unblock in-app content, which will still be allowed.
Google Play Store Developer Policy
Further changes have been made to the company’s FLAG_SECURE feature, which aims to protect sensitive data by preventing or hiding screenshots and blocking screen sharing and broadcasting. Beginning November 1, 2022, applications will no longer be able to work around flagged content.
With effect from the same day, VPNs will also be subject to stricter restrictions. Only dedicated VPN applications will be able to “create a secure device-level tunnel to a remote server” from a few exceptions (opens in a new tab).
Access to the USE_EXACT_ALARM permission will also be improved to include primarily only applications that “require precise actions over time” (from July 31, 2022)
Fake Google Play Store applications
Perhaps the most interesting for ordinary consumers will be the change that is expected to enter into force on August 31, 2022.
“We do not allow applications that mislead users by impersonating someone else (e.g. another developer, company or entity) or another application … To ensure Google Play remains a safe and respected platform, we have developed standards that define and prohibit content. which are harmful or inappropriate for our users, “said Google in blog post (opens in a new tab) announcing the news.
The company recommends checking the name of the developer (displayed under the title of the application in the Play Store) that the logo matches the company’s logo and that the name appears to be original and not misleading.
Further changes to the company’s app store include the elimination of misleading health information, better subscription management, safer child-friendly advertising, and further steps in personal protection.