What is supposed to be a nail-biting concern and a slap to all those security/data privacy promises, one independent researcher Andy Michael of VPNtesting found out that there are four VPN apps available on Google Play which runs malicious ads in the background. These VPN apps not only run the ads in backend but also shows pop-ups on the front screen whenever users are running these VPN apps. The names of these suspicious VPN apps are Hotspot VPN, Secure VPN, Security Master by Cheetah Mobile, and the Free VPN Master.
According to Andy, these VPN apps are the latest found Adware in the Google Android app store, the Google Play. It is also startling to know that all these VPN apps – Free VPN Master, Secure VPN, Security Master, and Hotspot VPN – are from Chinese developers, and the Hotspot VPN is also named pretty much like that of the legitimate American VPN service provider – Hotspot Shield by Anchor free Inc. It is also worth noting here that Security Master by Cheetah Mobile is not typically a VPN app – it is anti-virus for mobiles.
All these apps showing disruptive ads are quite capable of delivering malware or a virus program on the phones where they are installed. The amazing thing to note here is the application testing and approval process at Google: How can a malicious app get approved by one of the world’s most widely used and technologically advanced app store? At the time of this narrative, all these applications can still be downloaded from the Google Play store.
Well, it been quite sometimes now that people constantly see glittering promises of data privacy and security from the biggest apps and hardware makers in the world, but how much those promises are kept remains ever doubtful and shadowy. While users are constantly warned and abstained from using apps made by unknown, unreliable sources but when the most trusted platforms betray their promises, what options are left by the users of these services? This is the biggest question in this age of “digital convenience.”