Reports of phone malware and spying software have been everywhere in the news lately.
It was reported earlier this year that 99% of malware is on Android devices. This might be why Google is testing a panic button designed to quickly exit malicious apps on its Android devices.
The update is coming with version 7.1 of the software. The feature is currently disabled, presumably for testing. The panic button won’t be an entirely new button. According to settings uncovered by developers, users simply have to press the back button four times in quick succession to exit any app they presume has infected software on it. This will close all apps and return the user to the home screen. This is designed to mimic the actions users take when they are unsure about an apps authenticity and quickly try to get out of it.
The announcement of a panic button comes at a perfect time, as malware such as CopyCat and SpyDealer have infected tens of millions of Android devices in the last year alone.
One thing that remains unclear is if this panic button can override malware that locks your screen or freezes other aspects of your device.
It’s currently possible for users to turn on the panic button if they want but it’s warned against doing so as the feature has not been formally announced by Google. To turn it on, you have to access Android’s SystemUI APK.
Google may be delaying the formal launch and announcement of the panic button feature to ensure hackers and malware creators do not have a lot of time to develop backdoors or ways around the feature.