The majority of android-based VPN applications offer poor security services to their clients, a study has found.
According to the findings of the study that was conducted by cyber security researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of New South Wales, a big number of android-based VPN apps have serious security issues ranging from failure to encrypt the traffic of their users to stealing the private information of their users.
According to the study, many developers have taken advantage of the faith that people have in VPNs as the main way of becoming anonymous online by developing dubious applications that undermine the security of the users.
‘We have identified cases in which some malicious VPNs intentionally steal the private information of their users, the information that they are supposed to protect in the first place,’ the report reads in part.
The researchers pointed out that a big number of the VPN services that they tasted failed the basic tests on the extent to which they make users anonymous and secure the communications of the users.
It was reported that as part of the study, the researchers tested 283 VPN apps that advertise their services as the most reliable solutions to the problems of anonymity and security that users of android devices experience.
For example, the researchers note that 82% of the VPN apps that were tested asked users to give them access to sensitive information such as the SMS history of the users.
The researchers also pointed out that about 38% of the apps that were tested as part of the study contained one or more forms of malware programs.
‘VPN services are supposed to provide the highest level of security and protection against malware programs to users and hence these findings are alarming to many users,’ the researchers further point out.
Other experts have pointed out the dangers that oblivious clients face when using the affected VPN apps.
According to professor Dali Kaafar of CSIRO, a leading cyber security research centre in Australia, it is important for everyone who uses a VPN service to take extra measures when selecting a specific service to use.
‘All VPN users should take the findings of this study as a serious warning that the VPN services that they may be using may be compromising their security rather than safeguarding it,’ he said.
Observers and the general public are likely to be worried the more by the revelation that many of the VPN apps that were found to be insecure are readily available on Google Play store.