Many VPN apps on Apple’s App store can’t be trusted, researcher warns

Many VPN apps on Apple’s App store can’t be trusted, researcher warns

I’m told Apple is at last looking into the privacy and security of free VPN apps made available across its platforms, following a report from researcher, Simon Migliano.

Who owns your VPN service?

The researcher has flagged up several concerns that really should be recognized by anyone choosing a VPN service from both the Apple and Google App Stores:

  • Ownership: Migliano claims that almost 60 percent of the most popular VPN apps are actually owned (sometimes opaquely) by Chinese companies.
  • Privacy: The researcher also found that as many as 77% of these VPN apps may have what he calls “serious privacy flaws”,including no privacy policy at all, generic policies with no mention of VPN or no detailed logging policy.
  • Data protection: Migliano claims Apple is not enforcing its third-party data-sharing ban against VPN apps, with 80 percent of the top free VPN apps “in breach of the rules”, he said. Many are sharing data with third parties, he claims.

That last allegation is particularly concerning.

Has VPN become a honey pot trap?

Think about the nature of VPN services – while they make it much harder for third parties to access/monitor your website traffic while you are using them, they do so by routing traffic via their own servers.

That’s fine when your traffic is kept in a private space, but much less fine when information about what you are doing online is sold on to third parties without any oversight.

These could be data aggregators, hackers, or worse.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.


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