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Many VPN apps for Android leak users data, promote malvertising, and unencrypted

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Virtual Private Networks (VPN) seem to be the solution to many internet-related problems and issues today.

Not only does it provide security and privacy, but it also allows users to access content that are blocked or unavailable for their country/region. This works through encryption and routing through different countries, making it harder for hacks to occur. Although there are pros to using it, the cons that come with it should still be considered.

An analysis shows that in almost 300 Android VPNs, 84% leaked users’ web traffic, 38% are malvertising, 18% did not encrypt any data. There are even those that directly intercepted traffic, exposing users’ emails to operators once Gmail is opened.

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This report was made possible through the work of institutions like University of California at Berkeley and an Australian federal research agency, CSIRO. One of the authors of the study, Narseo Vallino-Rodriguez said that this was not a surprise at all.

According to him, the use of the apps lets users hand internet connections and data to companies that are not trustworthy. These can lead to numerous threats for the users, an open connection, malware installation and many more.

“To me, the shocking fact was that people trust this kind of technology,” said Vallina-Rodriguez.

Focusing on the numerous free VPN apps for Android smartphones, Vallina-Rodriguez explained that a paid app doesn’t ensure security and safety for the user. The only advantage of paid VPN apps is that they don’t have any reason to look at the user’s data which they entrust to the company. With that said, trusting the user’s own ISP is like using a VPN.

There are tons of apps offering this service, making it impossible to take down all the fake ones. Though there are those that were removed from Play Store, there are still those that remain. His only advice for users who feel the need to use VPN apps is to see how much information the apps are asking for.

Via: The Verge

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