In an update to its Play Store developer policy, Google has banned apps that mine cryptocurrency in the background of a user’s device. At the same time, however, the ban does not include “apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency,” the Hacker News reported.
Users can still access cryptocurrency mining apps such as AA Miner, NeoNeonMiner, and Crypto Miner on the Play Store. Beyond the ban on background crypto mining, the company also added more categories of apps that are not allowed on the platform, such as apps that display distracting ads or apps that improperly represent their ownership.
Crypto mining, in particular, has been abused, as hackers have been able to take in millions by surreptitiously mining digital currency. The idea is that the crypto is mined in the background, and users do not know such activity is taking place.
The news comes a few months after Google decided not to run any ads for cryptocurrencies as part of its efforts to clamp down on advertisements that run afoul of its policies. First spotted by Reuters, Google said in a post that the new policy, kicked off in June, bans ads for things like binary options, cryptocurrencies and related content and financial spread betting, among other things.
Separately, Scott Spencer, director of sustainable ads at Google, said in blog post that in 2017, the company removed more than 3.2 billion ads that violated its advertising policies, which amounted to more than 100 bad ads per second.
“This means we’re able to block the majority of bad ad experiences, like malvertising and phishing scams, before the scams impact people,” Spencer said. “We blocked 79 million ads in our network for attempting to send people to malware-laden sites and removed 400,000 of these unsafe sites last year. And, we removed 66 million ‘trick-to-click’ ads, as well as 48 million ads that were attempting to get users to install unwanted software.”