We’ve seen Google purge a number of malicious apps from the Play Store in recent months, and now the firm has decided to create an App Defense Alliance tasked with identifying bad apps before they have chance to reach its mobile marketplace.

Google announced the new partnership earlier this week, noting that it will be partnering with three security companies in the App Defense Alliance’s efforts.

The three companies in question are ESET, Lookout and Zimperium, with the Alliance explaining that the 2.5 billion Android device ecosystem makes it a prime target for malicious attacks.

To that end the Alliance will be looking specifically at apps that attempt to abuse users by hiding malware or spying code in a bid to access and steal sensitive data prior to hitting the Play Store.

“Working closely with our industry partners gives us an opportunity to collaborate with some truly talented researchers in our field and the detection engines they’ve built. This is all with the goal of, together, reducing the risk of app-based malware, identifying new threats, and protecting our users,” explained Dave Kleidermacher, VP for Android Security & Privacy in a blog post.

“As part of this Alliance, we are integrating our Google Play Protect detection systems with each partner’s scanning engines. This will generate new app risk intelligence as apps are being queued to publish. Partners will analyze that dataset and act as another, vital set of eyes prior to an app going live on the Play Store,” he adds.

Highlighting the work of Google’s partners int he App Defense Alliance, Kleidermacher notes that they all specialise in endpoint protection, and offer specific products to protect mobile devices and mobile ecosystems.

With mobile apps becoming a heavily favoured route for malicious attacks, hopefully the Alliance can indeed spot the bad ones well ahead of time.