The majority of people today use a smartphone and the plethora of applications sure makes life easier and more convenient.
Is Your Android VPN Collecting Your Data?
However, whenever you install an app on your phone it requires you to grant certain permissions before you can start using it. These permissions include access to some of your information; including your contacts, call list, and browsing history.
Most of us agree that giving applications access to our sensitive information is a breach of privacy and security. However, we still end up using these applications and giving them these permissions because we cannot survive without them.
That’s right! Most people are heavily dependent upon smartphone applications. They use it for a variety of everyday tasks; from ordering food to hiring a cab to finding their way around town.
If they do not grant applications access to the content on their device, they will never be able to use them.
The problem is that most applications claim to be safe but many are not. If you give them access to only certain types of data you might be surprised to learn later that certain apps secretly collect data that they should not.
This is true for several applications on the Google Play Store downloaded by Android users. Among these questionable applications are certain virtual private network services; usually the ones that are ridiculously cheap, ad-supported or free.
Virtual private networks, in theory, to provide security to users. The VPN technology is capable of hiding the original IP address of a user. It replaces that IP with the IP address of a secure VPN server.
The IP address identifies the location of the user and the type of device he is connected from.
When the original IP address of the user is not available it is impossible to determine the location or identify the user. Not many other technologies offer this feature, which has made VPN services so popular all over the world.
If you use a reputed paid VPN service, there is nothing much to fear. But if you are downloading a free VPN application from the Google Play Store, you cannot be certain about getting the best security or privacy.
Google Play Store, unlike the Apple App store, does not individually verify the safety of an application before it is allowed to be published. This allows several dodgy applications to be available on the Play Store.
But they are still downloaded by several people because they are free. They even claim to offer the same features of a paid VPN. However, it has been recently found that among the apps that collect unauthorized data are the free VPN applications on the Google Play Store.
Dangers of Data Permissions
When it comes to the scope of a VPN, it does not require access to personal information to function normally. It also applies to various other applications that seek access to personal information on the device before being installed or used.
Various applications including Uber and Google Maps has come under the scanner for requesting permissions like access to the SD card and permission to read and write data.
Of course, there are some kinds of permissions that you need to provide the application with for normal functionality. But applications are notorious for seeking access to the data that have no connection with their function or usability.
How to Determine What Data the App Is Collecting?
To find out if an application has access to sensitive information, just tap and hold an application and then tap on “info.”
You will get to see all the different kinds of permissions that the app has. You are also free to revoke them. But bear in mind that revoking access to certain data can make the app unusable.
Free VPNs on Google Play
There are hundreds of free VPN apps on the Play Store and they are used by a large number of people because they are free and promise to offer the same features of a paid or premium VPN service. So it has been found that these apps seek access to some of the most sensitive information.
While one requires access to your contact list and your SD card data, another request access to log files and precise location information. You might choose to not offer them access to the data. However, you may not be able to use the app at all as a result.
But using no VPN at all is far better been installing a dangerous application on your phone. It’s true that a virtual private network provides the kind of security that no other technology is capable of. However, only paid premium services are the safest. Premium VPNs have a strict no-logs policy. It basically means that will not collect any of your data.
Free VPNs are shoddy and do not provide the least amount of security or privacy. Rather, they compromise even the little security you would have had without a VPN.
Using Premium VPN Services
If you are looking for being safe online, invest in a paid premium VPN service because they never make any request to access your personal data. You do have to pay a monthly subscription but you get complete privacy, no request for permissions, and also excellent customer service.
If you’re going to have security, you should have it in a way that’s proper and safe, instead of installing just about any app that claims to be a VPN. You will thank yourself later.