Global Android potentially harmful app installs 2016-2018, by market segment

In 2018, potentially harmful app (PHAs) install rates from Google play increased to 0.04 percent, up from 0.02 in 2017. According to the source, this is largely due to the inclusion of click fraud as a PHA category. In total, 0.92 percent of app installs outside of Google Play were PHAs, down from 3.32 percent in 2016.

Percentage of potentially harmful app (PHA) installs on Android devices from 2016 to 2018, by market segment

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Release date

April 2019


United States

Survey time period

2016 to 2018

Supplementary notes

According to the source, "Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs) are apps that could put users, user data, or devices at risk. Common PHA categories include trojans, spyware, and phishing apps. In 2018, we started tracking click fraud as a PHA category. Click fraud apps simulate clicks on advertisements without user consent."

User-wanted PHAs
"Some apps with attractive features also weaken Android’s built-in security. When users try to install these apps, Google Play Protect warns users about potential hazards so that they can make informed decisions. Our statistics separate these from classic “malware” PHAs. For example, Google Play Protect warns users about apps that disable Android security features, such as SELinux, or root the device with disclosure and user consent. Google Play Protect discourages changes that lower Android’s built-in security protections, but allows individuals to choose the risks that they are willing to take with their devices."

Before 2018 click fraud wasn’t considered a PHA and was treated only as a Google Play policy violation.

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