Android apps contain thousands of types of malware and viruses Deyvi Romero/Pixels

The Google Play store is infested with malware and viruses but the company's crack team of engineers has insisted that work is well underway to clean up.

A report released on Tuesday (30 January) revealed that 700,000 malicious applications were removed from the market in 2017. A total of 100,000 suspicious developers were booted off the platform over the same period.

There are more than 3.5 million apps on the store and hackers continue to exploit Android users to steal passwords, banking details and social accounts.

But Andrew Ahn, product manager at Google Play, said 99% of apps with abusive contents last year were "rejected" before anyone could install them.

"This was possible through significant improvements in our ability to detect abuse - such as impersonation, inappropriate content, or malware - through new machine learning models and techniques," Ahn said.

"Last year we more than halved the probability of a user installing a bad app, protecting people and their devices from harm, and making Google Play a more challenging place for those who seek to abuse the app ecosystem."

Ahn said the biggest problems included "copycat" applications (those that impersonate famous brands), inappropriate content such as pornography or violence, and Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs), which include spam, malware and phishing apps.

Recently, one app was discovered posing under the branding of a popular children's cartoon character that contained a voice that threatened to stab the listener. In another case, security analysts found the store was hosting more than 200 fake bitcoin exchange apps.

Ahn said Google was aware that more needed to be done.

He wrote: "Despite the capabilities that led to a record-high takedown of bad apps and malicious developers, we know a few still manage to evade and trick our layers of defence.

"We take these extremely seriously and will continue to innovate our capabilities to better detect and protect against abusive apps and the malicious actors behind them.

"We are committed to make Google Play the most trusted and safe app store in the world."