Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Free Android VPNs Suffering Encryption Failures, New Report

VPN apps for Android increase privacy and security over the internet since connection data is encrypted, consequently making it impossible for hackers or other parties to access communication data. 

They also help unblock region-restricted content through IP address hiding, support anonymity on the Internet, and protect secure information more so when using insecure Wi-Fi.

Cybersecurity researcher Simon Migliano at Top10VPN recently discovered that free Android VPNs are suffering encryption failures.

Free VPNs Encryption Failures

Encouraged by the growing trends of government-imposed internet restrictions worldwide and subsequent appeal for virtual private networks (VPNs), this study examines the privacy and security issues about free VPN applications.

With ANYRUN You can Analyze any URL, Files & Email for Malicious Activity : Start your Analysis

Since 2018, the total installations of the 100 most popular free Android VPNs have skyrocketed from 260 million to over 2.5 billion.

This in-depth research evaluated the privacy and security risks associated with the top 100 free Android VPN apps, which have garnered over 2.5 billion total installations due to increasing global demand.

By testing each app on separate devices, using various tools within an isolated environment, the study identified shocking flaws in encryption, data leakage, and privacy-infringing functions in the codes of these apps.

Most importantly, it was discovered that most of them openly shared personal user information directly with firms such as “Yandex” and “Bytedance,” consequently showing a contradiction between serving people without charging them and safeguarding a VPN’s real confidentiality goal.

For those who cannot afford to pay for VPNs, it is possible to find good, free ones by doing extensive research. However, affordable paid options are more reliable.

The tests revealed worrying encryption flaws and data leakage among all 100 free VPN applications.

11 experienced full-scale breakdowns in the encryption process, slightly over a third deployed an inadequate form of encryption, and few used the best hashing algorithms or TLS 1.3.

This resulted from 88 leaking information, including 83 that disclosed DNS requests and 79 that did not tunnel all traffic. Over half of these applications suffered from connection instability.

A comprehensive study on user privacy and security vulnerabilities, conducted through Wireshark traffic analysis within a unique test environment, unraveled such extensive vulnerabilities.

Here below, we have mentioned the names of those 11 VPNs:-

  • HTTP Injector
  • Phone Guardian VPN
  • VPN Private
  • iTop VPN
  • PotatoVPN
  • Swift VPN
  • Tenta Private VPN Browser
  • Maple VPN
  • GoFly VPN
  • AVG Secure Browser
  • VPN Satoshi

11 apps were found to have no encryption at all, consequently exposing the browsing activities.

Many of these data leaks were widely spread, 83 of them leaked DNS requests and only 79 could tunnel all traffic.

In addition, many of the investigated apps (96) contained code with potential privacy impacts but some had first-party location tracking together with permissions.

More worrying were those with 12 apps, including third-party precise location tracking code and permissions; some even track in the background.

The main contributors to major privacy concerns included SDKs such as ByteDance, Yandex, and Facebook embedded in popular apps.

In total, during this test period, 71 applications shared personal information while their VPN was still running.

Looking for Full Data Breach Protection? Try Cynet's All-in-One Cybersecurity Platform for MSPs: Try Free Demo 


Latest articles

Hackers Exploit Multiple WordPress Plugins to Hack Websites & Create Rogue Admin Accounts

Wordfence Threat Intelligence team identified a significant security breach involving multiple WordPress plugins. The initial...

Hackers Attacking Windows IIS Server to Upload Web Shells

Windows IIS Servers often host critical web applications and services that provide a gateway...

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Released in Stunning Deal with U.S.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been released from prison after reaching a deal with...

Four Members of FIN9 Hackers Charged for Attacking U.S. Companies

Four Vietnamese nationals have been charged for their involvement in a series of computer...

BREAKING: NHS England’s Synnovis Hit by Massive Cyber Attack

In a shocking development, the NHS has revealed that it was the victim of...

Threat Actor Claiming a 0-day in Linux LPE Via GRUB bootloader

A new threat actor has emerged, claiming a zero-day vulnerability in the Linux GRUB...

LockBit Ransomware Group Claims Hack of US Federal Reserve

The notorious LockBit ransomware group has claimed responsibility for hacking the U.S. Federal Reserve,...
Tushar Subhra Dutta
Tushar Subhra Dutta
Tushar is a Cyber security content editor with a passion for creating captivating and informative content. With years of experience under his belt in Cyber Security, he is covering Cyber Security News, technology and other news.

Free Webinar

API Vulnerability Scanning

71% of the internet traffic comes from APIs so APIs have become soft targets for hackers.Securing APIs is a simple workflow provided you find API specific vulnerabilities and protect them.In the upcoming webinar, join Vivek Gopalan, VP of Products at Indusface as he takes you through the fundamentals of API vulnerability scanning..
Key takeaways include:

  • Scan API endpoints for OWASP API Top 10 vulnerabilities
  • Perform API penetration testing for business logic vulnerabilities
  • Prioritize the most critical vulnerabilities with AcuRisQ
  • Workflow automation for this entire process

Related Articles