Web users intend to use VPN services with an assumption that VPN keeps their web browsing and personal data safe. However, recent research has thrown light on some vulnerabilities found in common and popular VPN apps.
These vulnerabilities include:
- Missing encryption of sensitive data.
- Hard-coded cryptographic keys within the app; thus, even if the data is encrypted, hackers can decrypt it using these keys.
- Some VPN apps have user privacy breaking bugs such as DNS leaks which expose user DNS queries to their ISPs.
These vulnerabilities of VPN apps allow hackers to intercept user communications including web browsing history, username, passwords, photos, videos, and messages. The privacy breaches include location tracking, access to device status information, use of the camera, microphone access and ability to send SMS secretly. Using these vulnerabilities, hackers can manipulate the users to connect to their malicious VPN servers.
In addition to these vulnerabilities, there are some other concerns associated with free VPN apps:
- Some free VPN apps sell your bandwidth to paying customers allowing them to use your device’s processing power.
- Malicious VPN apps incorporate ads that may include malware. These apps may also share the online activity of users to third party marketing professionals.
Some signs that your phone has been affected by malware are:
- Phone becomes slow.
- Higher loading time of app.
- Battery drains faster than usual.
- Large number of pop-up ads.
- Unexplainable data usage.
As the number of data breaches is exceeding, it has become important to take necessary measures for safeguarding yourself against malicious VPN apps. Following are some measures that you should take:
- Check if you have sufficient information about the app developer. Download the VPN apps provided by trusted app developers only.
- Check the app reviews. You can also search for the app on the search engine to check if there is any controversial news about it.
- Audit the apps on your phone to check if they were downloaded by you or not.
Delete apps that you don’t use frequently.
- Run a malware scan after downloading any app to ensure it is safe.
For more information on ways to protect your data from malicious VPN apps, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.