Alphabet Inc.’s Google (GOOGL) is getting stricter with cryptocurrencies. After banning advertisements related to cryptocurrency products from its online platforms—a move announced in March that came into effect in June—the search engine giant has now announced it will remove all bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining apps from its Play Store. (See also: Google Bans Advertising Related To Cryptocurrency Products.)
While Google co-founder Sergey Brin recently disclosed that he has been mining ethereum on experimental basis, his company has moved to ban mining apps from its app store. (See also: Google's Sergey Brin Mines Ethereum With His Son.)
New Play Store Policies
On its Play Store’s developer policy page, the Mountain View, California-based company recently updated with the statement, “We don't allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices. We permit apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency.” The update appears in the Financial Instruments section of the policy page.
It means that Google will no longer allow mining directly on the user device using Play Store-hosted apps. However, it is not preventing developers from release apps that would allow mining to be done elsewhere, like on cloud-hosted computer platforms. Essentially, users can still find apps in the Google Play Store that will allow them to handle cryptocurrency transactions and control and monitor mining activities that may be running elsewhere.
Preventive Measure Amid Rising Cyber Threats
The move by Google is seen as a preventive measure given a rise in cases of mining malware hitting user devices. Additionally, there has been a significant rise in the number of cryptojacking cases where nefarious actors take control of a user’s device and use it for mining cryptocurrency without the user being aware of it. Moreover, if mining is not managed properly on a device, it can lead to device malfunctions. Experiments show physical damage to internal components of a device, including a swollen battery that damaged the exterior shell of the laptop following two days of monero mining, reports NewsBTC.
CoinDesk cites a report by Russian-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab that says cryptojacking instances spiked by 44.5% over the past year. Crypto mining is also becoming a popular route for security attacks: Skybox Security's midyear report suggests crypto mining now account for 32% of all cyber attacks.
Last month, Apple Inc. (AAPL) also made a similar move to prevent iOS developers from building applications that can be used for mining on mobile devices. In April, Google announced a ban on cryptocurrency mining browser extensions from its Chrome web store after the company discovered a "vast majority" failed to comply with its single purpose policy or were malicious. (See also: Google Bans Crypto Mining Chrome Extensions.)