• Tested: 150 free VPN apps with over 260M installs from Google Play store
  • 25% fail to protect user privacy due to DNS and other leaks
  • 85% feature excessive permissions or functions with potential for privacy abuses
  • Long list of other security flaws and performance issues

Introduction

Note: this report is being constantly updated as we receive and assess responses from developers of apps listed in the Risk Index

The purpose of the Risk Index is to help consumers avoid inadvertently using flawed apps that compromise their privacy and security. It focuses on the technical performance of Android VPN apps available on Google Play. For background on Virtual Private Networks, see our What is a VPN? guide. It is a companion piece to our free VPN app investigation that explored the background of the often secretive companies operating the most popular of these apps.

To create the Risk Index, we tested the top 150 free VPN apps by total installs. [Note that whenever we refer to “free” in this report we mean ‘gratis’ or provided without charge. These apps are not “free” software as in the sense of “freedom”, such as open source software.] We tested for effective encryption, browser leaks, viruses and malware, dangerous app functions and behaviors, along with comprehensive network tests. We also analyzed excessive app permissions.

While many of our Risk Index findings are straightforward in what they reveal about a particular app, such as the presence of DNS leaks or network anomalies, the analysis of permissions and risky functions needs to be placed in proper context as it provides us with illuminating insight into the category of free apps as a whole.

The mere presence of some of these intrusive permissions or risky functions is not necessarily malicious but neither does that mean they are typically benign.

Some can be required to enable the aggressive advertising keeping these apps “free” for example. What’s even more disturbing however is when location-based permissions and functionality are used to geo-target ads to users with an active VPN connection – which is not a practice with which many consumers would be comfortable.

The presence of these permissions and risky functions is also often a sign of quick and dirty development and lack of focus on user privacy that results in apps that just don’t do enough to earn user trust.

It’s standard practice for developers to use third-party libraries for common functionality, however the problem arises if no-one thinks to check for excessive, intrusive permissions and functions bundled with them or just don’t care enough to spend time removing them. While perhaps understandable in a free app, how is the average consumer to know whether the developer is malicious or just lazy?

Some of the risky functions we identified may also be “dormant”, left in the code even as corresponding permissions were removed, rendering them unable to successfully execute – unless of course said permissions were to be reinstated with an app update.

Then there’s the in-built protection offered by recent versions of Android where upon install, an app’s permissions are set to “denied” as default until the app requests they be granted. This doesn’t take into account less experienced users who tap OK without fully understanding what they are doing.

Our view is that – even putting more malicious scenarios aside – this state of affairs is nowhere near good enough and that consumers trying to protect their privacy deserve better. Nor does it have to be this way, none of these risky permissions or functions are to be found in the leading paid-for VPN apps, which closes the door to any potential privacy abuses.

Consumers determined to use a free service should absolutely do their research outside of the Play store and look at independent free VPN recommendations.

Summary Findings

Leaks

  • 25% of apps tested positive for DNS leaks (38 apps)
  • 4 apps also tested positive for WebRTC leaks
  • 2 apps suffered the full sweep of leaks (DNS, WebRTC and IP address)

Jump to Extended findings on Leaks | Testing Methodology | VPN Risk Index

Permissions

  • 67% of apps have intrusive permissions (100 apps). Each of these permissions is categorized as “dangerous” in the official Android developer documentation
  • 25% of apps may ask users to grant permission to track their location (38 apps)
  • 39% of apps may ask users to grant permission to access personal information about their device (59 apps)
  • Other intrusive permissions included use of the camera or recording via the microphone without a user’s knowledge, accessing contacts and even secretly sending SMS

Jump to Extended findings on permissions | Testing Methodology | VPN Risk Index

Risky Functions

Identification of risky functions in the source code of tested apps was dependent on the availability of scan data from the Tencent Habo Malware Analysis System. Where no data was available, the result was recorded as “Not detected”. Therefore the number of apps displaying such behavior should be considered to be at the lower bound.

  • 63% of all apps featured functions with the potential for privacy abuses not expected from a VPN app (95 apps)
  • 87 of these apps displayed the LocationManager;-getLastKnownLocation behavior, who function is to get the last known location of the device. However, 56 of them did not request the corresponding permission.

Jump to Extended findings on functions | Testing Methodology | VPN Risk Index

Virus & Malware Scans

All app binaries were uploaded to VirusTotal, which performs scans using over 60 utilities. The resulting reports are publicly available.

  • 18% of all apps returned positive matches when scanned for potential viruses or malware (27 apps)

Jump to Testing Methodology | VPN Risk Index

Network Tests

Network tests were completed on 103 apps. Of the remaining 47 apps, 36 appeared to be blocking testing traffic while nine failed to create a functioning network to test.

  • 38% of tested apps displayed at least one “major abnormality” in their network testing results (39 of 103 apps), which largely centred around red-flag DNS behavior
    • 14% of apps used DNS servers included on significant blacklists, which can prevent users accessing sites while connected to that VPN.
  • 95% of tested apps displayed at least one “minor aberration” in their network testing results (98 of 103 apps)
    • 50% had at least four “minor aberrations”
    • 22% had at least six “minor aberrations”
  • 62% of tested apps had TCP blocked on at least one port (64 of 103 apps). While typically temporary rather than permanent blocks, the end result is an unreliable internet experience with browsers displaying errors before eventually loading pages, email clients failing to immediately download messages etc
  • 53% of tested apps failed to process all DNS types, most importantly EDNS0, which allows larger UDP packet sizes (>512 bytes). This DNS type is becoming increasingly common, in particular as more queries are made using the cryptographic DNSSEC extension, to ensure DNS responses are valid and are not being changed by a MITM attack. For users of these VPN apps, these DNS queries may be slower than normal, or even not resolve successfully resulting in an “unknown host” message instead of the desired web page.
  • 52% of tested apps had various network performance issues: packet loss, high latency, low bandwidth, high packet buffering (54 of 103 apps). These issues cause particular problems with VOIP, video calling and gaming however they can also severely slow down the overall internet experience, especially in combination with each other.

Jump to Extended findings on network tests | Testing Methodology | VPN Risk Index

Encryption

We tested whether each app successfully created an encrypted VPN connection. We were pleased, if pleasantly surprised, to find that 100% of the connections created by the apps in the Risk Index were encrypted.

We tested encryption for each app by creating a VPN connection on an isolated network and using tcpdump to monitor traffic as we accessed a simple web page. We then analyzed the data we had captured for any unencrypted content from that page. We also re-tested a random sample in a later independent session in order to verify the results.

Read our full guide to VPN encryption and protocols.

Extended Findings: Leaks

We tested for three types of leak: DNS, WebRTC and IP address, all of which expose users’ true identity.

DNS leaks

38 apps suffered DNS leaks. This security flaw occurs when a VPN fails to force DNS requests through its encrypted tunnel to its own DNS servers and instead permits the DNS requests to be made directly to the default ISP DNS servers.

Even though the rest of a user’s traffic is concealed, such a leak exposes a user’s browsing history to their ISP and any third-party DNS server operator that it may use.

Not only does this defeat the purpose of using a VPN, such a leak would typically go undetected by a user unless they knew to test their connection.

WebRTC leaks

Only 4 apps suffered WebRTC leaks. WebRTC (or Web Real-Time Communication) is a browser-to-browser communication technology intended to deliver faster speeds for high-bandwidth applications like video chat.

The problem is that WebRTC communication not only requires a real IP address but can also bypass the VPN tunnel. It’s also possible for third-parties to exploit WebRTC functionality to request a user’s true IP address.

While less of a common problem than a DNS leak, these leaks also undermine VPN user privacy.

IP leaks

Only 2 apps suffered this fundamental leak, whereby a user’s true IP address is visible rather than being replaced by the IP address of the VPN. Given the standardized nature of our testing, the usual reasons for such leaks, such as the use of vulnerable older technologies like Flash, do not apply here.

These two VPNs (VPN super free and Super Fast Hot VPN) are essentially broken and not fit for purpose.

Back to Summary Findings

Extended Findings: Intrusive Permissions

We found the following inappropriate intrusive permissions were among those requested by the 150 apps in the index.

None of these permissions is necessary for the core functions of a VPN and each has the potential for privacy abuses. The table below indicates the number of apps featuring each permission.

While we also found additional excessive permissions, they were not considered intrusive and therefore not listed.

Aside from potentially malicious purposes, a proportion of these instances of intrusive permissions will arise from advertising practices. Ad platforms will require certain permissions to function while locations-based permissions enable geo-targeting of ads.

Others will have arisen from the use of third-party libraries for common functionality without due consideration given to the privacy implications of the permissions bundled therein.

Unfortunately for consumers, there is no way to determine whether a risky permission is there in order to spy on them, to better advertise to them or just as a result of poor development practices.

Note that permissions are set to “denied” upon app install and must be explicitly requested by the app and granted by the user.

Privacy Red Flags

Permission Definition Found in
(apps)
WRITE EXTERNAL STORAGE Allows app to read, modify or delete the contents of external storage devices, such as SD cards 77
READ PHONE STATE Access the phone features of the device. An application with this permission can determine the phone number and serial number of this phone, whether a call is active, the number that call is connected to and so on. 54
ACCESS FINE LOCATION Access fine location sources, such as the Global Positioning System on the phone, where available. Malicious applications can use this to determine where you are and may consume additional battery power. 38
ACCESS COARSE LOCATION Access approximate location sources such as cell towers and WiFi. Malicious applications can use this to determine your approximate location are and may consume additional battery power. 32
READ EXTERNAL STORAGE Allows app to read the contents of external storage devices, such as SD cards 24
BLUETOOTH Permits access to the configuration of Bluetooth on the device, and to make and accept connections with paired devices. Not at all relevant for VPN apps. 7
READ CONTACTS Allows app to read data about contacts stored on the device, including frequency of calls, messages, emails and other communications. It also allows apps to save contact data. Malicious apps may share contact data without a user’s knowledge. 3
CAMERA Take pictures and videos with the camera. This allows the application to collect images that the camera is seeing at any time. 3
SEND SMS Allows the app to send SMS messages, which can result in unexpected charges. Malicious apps may cost a user money by sending messages without requiring additional confirmation. 2
RECORD AUDIO Allows app to record audio via the microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without additional user confirmation. 1
READ CALENDAR Allows an application to read the user’s calendar data. Malicious apps are able to access data on a user’s daily routine. 1
ACTIVITY RECOGNITION Allows an application to determine whether a user is moving or stationary. 1

It should be noted that in addition to the above active permissions we also discovered a number of deprecated permissions that are no longer supported by the Android operating system but were at one time considered high-risk.

Among these were the “get tasks” permission (found in 26 apps) that returned a list of tasks that the user had recently launched but was was deprecated due the potential to leak personal information. Similarly “read logs” (five apps) that’s no longer available to third-party apps due to privacy issues and “use credentials” permission in two apps that used to give apps access to user accounts such as their Google account.

While these permissions are no longer valid, it does raise the question of why there were included in the first place.

Back to Summary Findings

Extended Findings: Risky Functions

We detected the following risky Java commands and functions in the source code when scanning the 150 apps in the index using the VirusTotal tool.

On the face of it, none of these functions is necessary for a VPN to function and each has the potential for privacy abuses. The table indicates the number of apps featuring each permission.

While we also found additional functions flagged as risky, they were not considered to have potential privacy implications and therefore are not listed.

As with the intrusive permissions elsewhere in this report, the reason for their presence will vary by app.

Some will be legitimate – and where developers have been able to provide justification for their use, we have included this in the relevant app summary in the Index.

Many more will be to enable more effective – and targeted – advertising, something we believe is at odds with the concept of VPN.

What we don’t know is how many are being used for malicious purposes or, even more worryingly, could be exploited at some point in the future.

Privacy Red Flags

Functions Potential Definition Found in
(apps)
LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation Get last known location 87
java/lang/Runtime;->exec Execute system command 48
TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version 45
TelephonyManager;->getSimSerialNumber Get SIM serial number 9
TelephonyManager;->getLine1Number Get phone number 9
ActivityManager;->killBackgroundProcesses Kill process like AV 9
Camera;->open Open camera 6
PowerManager;->reboot Reboot cellphone 4
SmsManager;->sendTextMessage Send normal SMS 4
ContentResolver;->query Read database like contact or sms 1

 

Note: we only found one instance of the ContentResolver;->query (Read database like contact or SMS) function where there was also the corresponding permissions: Free Proxy Master. Due to the broadness of the function, all other instances were discounted.

Of particular concern are the two instances of apps that feature both the Camera;->open function and the corresponding permission: SkyVPN and Squid VPN.

Back to Summary Findings

Extended Findings: Network Tests

Network tests were conducted on 103 apps. Of the remaining 47 apps, 36 apps blocked testing traffic while 9 apps failed to create a functioning network to test. Results are grouped into major abnormalities and minor aberrations.

See full network test results for all apps as a PDF or as a Google Doc.

Major Abnormalities

14 apps using DNS servers listed on significant blacklists, which can prevent users accessing sites while connected to that VPN.

7 apps returned unexpected results when looking up important names, which according to the International Computer Science Institute at Berkeley, “could be caused by an error somewhere in the domain information, deliberate blocking or redirection of a site using DNS, or it could be that your ISP’s DNS Server is acting as a DNS ‘Man-in-the-Middle’.”

22 apps were using DNS servers that were slow to look up names, meaning page loads times would be noticeably slow and sometimes even fail to load.

2 apps used transparent proxies that were vulnerable to attack.

5 apps used in-network HTTP caches that incorrectly cached information, raising concerns about caching information when explicitly being told not to and thus may be serving out-of-date or private data. There is also a risk in such behavior of storing and serving up other users’ session data in the event of two users accessing the same website.

Minor Aberrations

64 apps had TCP blocked on at least one port. While this was typically temporary rather than permanent blocks, the consequence is a very glitchy and unreliable internet experience with browsers displaying errors before eventually loading pages, email clients failing to immediately download messages etc

30 apps had UDP blocked on at least one port. While web browsers don’t use this protocol, other apps may be glitchy, reporting intermittent connection errors.

54 apps had various network performance issues: packet loss, high latency, low bandwidth, high packet buffering These issues cause particular problems with VOIP, video calling and gaming however they can also severely slow down the overall internet experience, especially in combination with each other.

27 apps failed to process all DNS types, most importantly EDNS0, which allows larger UDP packet sizes (512 bytes). This DNS type is increasingly being used to ensure websites load as quickly as possible, a critical priority for web developers. For users of these VPN apps, these DNS queries may not resolve successfully resulting in an “unknown host” message instead of the desired web page.

5 apps employed content filters that blocked file types such mp3s, .exe and torrents, which would prevent users downloading such files even from legitimate sources.

32 apps employed at least one proxy (typically on 10 or more ports). The presence of proxies raises potential concerns of covert monitoring of activity by the VPN provider. At the very least, proxies intercept activity such as DNS queries, which may cause applications to stop working as expected.

4 apps displayed strange behavior where IP addresses were different for HTTP traffic vs non-HTTP traffic

We also found instances (such as VPN Express) where the VPN forced UDP requests to their own DNS server over port 53 without giving the option to override this. Given the lack of privacy policy protections, opens up the possibility of logging.

Read our full guide to IP, DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks.

Back to Summary Findings

VPN Risk Index Summary: Apps 1-10

App
(Installs)
Risky Permissions DNS Leaks Risky Functions Virus / Malware
Hotspot Shield Free
(50M)
Detected No leaks Detected No
SuperVPN
(50M)
Detected Leaks Detected No
Hi VPN
(10M)
Detected Leaks Detected No
Hotspot Shield Basic
(10M)
Detected No leaks Not detected No
Psiphon Pro
(10M)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Turbo VPN
(10M)
Not detected Leaks Detected No
VPN Master
(10M)
Not detected Leaks Detected No
Snap VPN
(10M)
Detected Leaks Detected No
Hola
(10M)
Detected Leaks Detected No
SpeedVPN
(10M)
Detected No leaks Detected No

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VPN Risk Index Summary: Apps 11-20

VPN Private
(10M)Not detectedNo leaksDetectedNo

App
(Installs)
Risky Permissions DNS Leaks Risky Functions Virus / Malware
Betternet
(10M)
Detected No leaks Not detected No
Touch VPN
(10M)
Detected No leaks Not detected No
AnonyTun
(5M)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Super VPN
(5M)
Detected No leaks Detected No
EasyOvpn
(5M)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Secure VPN
(5M)
Detected Leaks Not detected No
Thunder VPN
(5M)
Detected Leaks Detected No
Yoga VPN
(5M)
Detected Leaks Detected No
X-VPN
(5M)
Detected No leaks Detected No

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VPN Risk Index Summary: Apps 21-30

App
(Installs)
Risky Permissions DNS Leaks Risky Functions Virus / Malware
TunnelBear
(5M)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No
FlashVPN
(5M)
Detected No leaks Detected No
VPN Robot
(5M)
Detected Leaks Not detected No
Unlimited Free VPN Monster
(5M)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No
TapVPN
(5M)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Ultrasurf (beta)
(5M)
Not detected No leaks Detected Positive match
Proxy Master
(5M)
Not detected No leaks Detected Positive match
Zero VPN
(1M)
Detected No leaks Not detected Positive match
HOT VPN
(1M)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Hammer VPN
(1M)
Detected No leaks Detected Positive match

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VPN Risk Index Summary: Apps 31-40

App
(Installs)
Risky Permissions DNS Leaks Risky Functions Virus / Malware
Troid VPN
(1M)
Detected No leaks Detected Positive match
VPN 360
(1M)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No
VPNhub
(1M)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
VPN super free
(1M)
Detected Leaks Detected No
Browsec VPN
(1M)
Detected No leaks Not detected No
FinchVPN
(1M)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No
Speedify
(1M)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Hotspot VPN
(1M)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Solo VPN
(1M)
Detected No leaks Detected No
VPN Proxy by Hexatech
(1M)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No

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VPN Risk Index Summary: Apps 41-50

App
(Installs)
Risky Permissions DNS Leaks Risky Functions Virus / Malware
SkyVPN
(1M)
Detected No leaks Detected No
LinkVPN
(1M)
Detected Leaks Detected No
VPN Unblocker
(1M)
Detected No leaks Not detected No
Unseen Online
(1M)
Not detected Leaks Not detected No
GeckoVPN
(1M)
Detected Leaks Detected No
Easy VPN
(1M)
Detected Leaks Detected Positive match
VPN Easy
(1M)
Detected No leaks Detected Positive match
Secure VPN
(1M)
Detected Leaks Not detected Positive match
ZPN
(1M)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No
VPN Unblock Bokep Sites
(1M)
Not detected No leaks Detected No

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VPN Risk Index Summary: Apps 51-60

App
(Installs)
Risky Permissions DNS Leaks Risky Functions Virus / Malware
SlowDNS
(1M)
Detected No leaks Detected Positive match
OvpnSpider
(1M)
Detected Leaks Detected Positive match
AppVPN
(1M)
Detected No leaks Detected Positive match
WhatsVPN
(1M)
Detected No leaks Detected No
VPN Proxy Master
(1M)
Not detected No leaks Detected Positive match
Amaze VPN
(1M)
Detected No leaks Not detected Positive match
Rocket VPN
(1M)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Windscribe VPN
(1M)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
Kaspersky VPN
(1M)
Not detected No leaks Detected Positive match
Secure Web VPN
(500K)
Detected No leaks Detected No

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VPN Risk Index Summary: Apps 61-70

App
(Installs)
Risky Permissions DNS Leaks Risky Functions Virus / Malware
ACT VPN
(500K)
Detected Leaks Detected Positive match
GO VPN Proxy Master
(500K)
Detected No leaks Detected Positive match
Hideman Free VPN
(500K)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Moon VPN
(500K)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Bestline VPN
(500K)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Free and Unlimited VPN
(500K)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No
Hotspot VPN
(500K)
Detected No leaks Not detected Positive match
Power VPN
(500K)
Detected No leaks Detected No
EagleVPN
(500K)
Detected No leaks Not detected Positive match
HotVPN
(500K)
Detected Leaks Not detected Positive match

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VPN Risk Index Summary: Apps 71-80

App
(Installs)
Risky Permissions DNS Leaks Risky Functions Virus / Malware
Free VPN
(500K)
Not detected Leaks Not detected No
Stark VPN
(500K)
Detected Leaks Not detected No
Free VPN by FreeVPN.org
(500K)
Detected No leaks Not detected No
InvinciBull VPN
(500K)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Atom VPN
(500K)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
Wuma VPN-PRO
(500K)
Detected Leaks Not detected Positive match
VPN Lighter
(100K)
Detected Leaks Detected No
Hi VPN Pro
(100K)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Super VPN
(100K)
Detected No leaks Not detected No
VPN Dog
(100K)
Detected Leaks Not detected No

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VPN Risk Index Summary: Apps 81-90

App
(Installs)
Risky Permissions DNS Leaks Risky Functions Virus / Malware
FREE VPN
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No
Hello VPN
(100K)
Detected No leaks Not detected Positive match
AIR VPN
(100K)
Detected Leaks Detected Positive match
SaferVPN
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
Reindeer VPN
(100K)
Detected No leaks Detected No
OpenVPN for Android
(100K)
Detected No leaks Not detected No
Hotspot VPN
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Not detected Positive match
VPN Express
(100K)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Bot Changer VPN
(100K)
Detected No leaks Not detected No
Leafy VPN
(100K)
Not detected Leaks Detected No

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VPN Risk Index Summary: Apps 91-100

App
(Installs)
Risky Permissions DNS Leaks Risky Functions Virus / Malware
Super Fast Hot VPN
(100K)
Not detected Leaks Not detected No
VPN 365
(100K)
Detected Leaks Not detected No
FireVPN
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No
Freedom VPN
(100K)
Not detected Leaks Not detected No
Free VPN Master
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No
Free Proxy Master
(100K)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Super Turbo VPN Unblocker
(100K)
Detected Leaks Detected No
FishVPN
(100K)
Detected Leaks Detected No
Gulf Secure VPN
(100K)
Detected No leaks Not detected No
Hoxx VPN
(100K)
Detected No leaks Detected No

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VPN Risk Index Summary: Apps 101-110

App
(Installs)
Risky Permissions DNS Leaks Risky Functions Virus / Malware
VPN Secure Touch Master
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
JoyVPN
(100K)
Detected Fails Detected Positive match
MaxVPN
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
VPN Free Super Hot
(100K)
Detected Fails Detected No
VPN Melon
(100K)
Detected Leaks Detected No
VPN Master – USA
(100K)
Detected No leaks Not detected No
5G VPN
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
VPN Free Super Speed
(100K)
Detected Fails Detected No
OLO VPN
(100K)
Detected No leaks Detected No
USA VPN
(100K)
Detected Leaks Detected No

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VPN Risk Index Summary: Apps 111-120

App
(Installs)
Risky Permissions DNS Leaks Risky Functions Virus / Malware
VPN Unlimited
(100K)
Detected Leaks Detected No
Robo VPN
(100K)
Detected Fails Detected No
FastVPN
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No
UAE FastVPN
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No
MyMobileSecure
(100K)
Detected Leaks Not detected No
VPN Master & Free Unblock Proxy
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
VPN Tube – Free VPN
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
Webzilla
(100K)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Surf VPN
(100K)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Xiaoming VPN
(100K)
Detected Leaks Not detected Positive match

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VPN Risk Index Summary: Apps 121-130

App
(Installs)
Risky Permissions DNS Leaks Risky Functions Virus / Malware
FastVPN Free-Unblock-Proxy
(100K)
Detected No leaks Not detected No
Star VPN
(100K)
Detected No leaks Not detected No
Super Power VPN
(100K)
Detected No leaks Not detected Positive match
India VPN
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No
Combo VPN
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
GetBehind.me
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No
Cloud VPN
(100K)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Totally Free VPN
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No
Free VPN – Unblock Proxy
(100K)
Detected Leaks Not detected No
VPN Gate List
(100K)
Detected No leaks Detected No

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VPN Risk Index Summary: Apps 131-140

App
(Installs)
Risky Permissions DNS Leaks Risky Functions Virus / Malware
VPN Master
(100K)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No
21VPN
(100K)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Supper VPN Proxy
(50K)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
VPN Proxy Pro
(50K)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
SuperVPN 2018
(50K)
Detected No leaks Not detected Positive match
VPN Sky
(50K)
Not detected No leaks Not detected Positive match
Easy VPN (ATH)
(50K)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
Smart VPN
(50K)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
Super VPN 2018
(50K)
Detected Fails Detected No
Free VPN (Emoji)
(50K)
Not detected Fails Detected No

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VPN Risk Index Summary: Apps 141-150

App
(Installs)
Risky Permissions DNS Leaks Risky Functions Virus / Malware
unlimited free easy vpn proxy
(50K)
Not detected Fails Detected No
Squid VPN
(50K)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Falco VPN
(50K)
Detected No leaks Detected No
Ghost Free VPN
(50K)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
MeteorVPN
(50K)
Detected Fails Detected No
Flash VPN
(50K)
Detected Leaks Not detected Positive match
Free Unlimited VPN
(50K)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
SetupVPN
(50K)
Not detected No leaks Detected No
Panda Free VPN
(50K)
Detected Fails Detected No
Super VPN Hotspot
(50K)
Not detected No leaks Not detected No

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Hotspot Shield Free VPN Proxy & Wi-Fi Security

Hotspot Shield Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: AnchorFree GmbH

APK file name: hotspotshield.android.vpn

Installs

50,000,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • ActivityManager;->killBackgroundProcesses | Kill process like AV
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 3
  • Minor aberrations: 6

Full network test results.

VPN Provider Response

Hotspot Shield provided a very detailed response. Summary as follows:

  • READ_PHONE_STATE is used to ensure no upsell screens or app notifications interrupt a user while on a call. HSS states they store no information on user phone numbers nor serial numbers and provided evidence of transparency audits.
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE enables a disk clean-up feature bundles with the app.
  • ActivityManager;->killBackgroundProcesses enables a battery life improvement feature by killing background processes.
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId is used to get the SIM country for geo targeting things like GDPR based on user country. HSS emphasised that they never store or log the user IP address.
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation is used for city-level targeting of features to different regions when inside the VPN tunnel. HSS state they only use this in real time and do not store user location or user IP addresses.
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec is used by the Paypal Braintree 3rd party library, to allow users to purchase subscriptions using Paypal.

Our view is that Hotspot Shield Free takes appropriate steps to mitigate the risks associated with the permissions and functions identified above, especially as their claims are backed up by security and transparency audits. While we will never be comfortable with using location data to target ads to VPN users, their senior management’s detailed responses have satisfied us that sufficient protections are in place that user privacy is not at risk. Using any free VPN involves a trade-off and at least with Hotspot Shield Free, it is in all other respects one of the better free VPNs available.


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SuperVPN Free VPN Client

SuperVPN Free VPN Client Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: SuperSoftTech

APK file name: com.jrzheng.supervpnfree

Installs

50,000,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 4

See full network test results.

Read our full SuperVPN review.


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Hi VPN – Super Fast VPN Proxy, Secure Hotspot VPN

Hi VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Hi Security

APK file name: com.ehawk.proxy.freevpn

Installs

10,000,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_PHONE_STATE

Leaks

DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Major abnormalities: 0

Minor aberrations: 4

Full network test results.


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Hotspot Shield Basic – Free VPN Proxy & Privacy

Hotspot Shield Basic Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: AnchorFree GmbH

APK file name: hssb.android.free.app

Installs

10,000,000 | 4.5 stars | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Major abnormalities: 3

Minor aberrations: 6

Full network test results.

VPN Provider Response

Hotspot Shield provided a very detailed response. Summary as follows:

  • READ_PHONE_STATE is used to ensure no upsell screens or app notifications interrupt a user while on a call. HSS states they store no information on user phone numbers nor serial numbers and provided evidence of transparency audits.
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE enables a disk clean-up feature bundles with the app.

Our view is that the explanations for these permissions appear legitimate, especially as their claims are backed up with security and transparency audits. See the response for Hotspot Shield Free for additional information.

Read our full Hotspot Shield Free review.


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Psiphon Pro – The Internet Freedom VPN

Psiphon Pro Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Psiphon Inc.

APK file name: com.psiphon3.subscription

Installs

10,000,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Major abnormalities: 0

Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.

VPN Provider Response

Psiphon provided a swift and detailed response, as follows:

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE allows the built-in browser to download files.
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec – org.zirco.utils.ProxySettings class is used to set the built in browser’s proxy settings.
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation & ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION is used to get the WiFi SSID in order to facilitate reconnections.

Our view is that these are legitimate uses of the permissions and functions, particularly as Psiphon is open source (unusual for a VPN). However, we remain concerned that the use of location-based permissions/functions for reconnection is could be open to abuse and that there are safer ways to achieve the same outcome.

Read our full Psiphon Pro review


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Turbo VPN – Unlimited Free VPN & Fast Security VPN

TurboVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Innovative Connecting

APK file name: free.vpn.unblock.proxy.turbovpn

Installs

10,000,000+ | 4.7 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • java/net/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic

VPN Provider Response

The developers provided a detailed response, summary as follows:

Note that the same developers are also responsible VPN Master, for which they provided a very similar response.

  • LocationManager. ->getLastKnownLocation
  • ContentResolver; ->delete
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId

The devs acknowledged that the third-party advertising platforms they use do seek to obtain sensitive information “for personalized advertising purpose”. However the devs stated they did not request the necessary permissions in order to protect user privacy.

Beyond using the user’s country to provide the fastest server, however, the devs did not specify what the functions were actually used for.

  • Java/lang/Runtime; >exec | Execute system command

“Since we already have over 5,000 servers, in order to improve the user experience, we will ping if necessary, so as to select the most suitable server for different user.”

Our view is as follows: to quote the developers, “To help people to get a better Internet access in terms of privacy security, we offer free VPN services. Our products have a large number of users, which means we need a lot of servers to support, and we need advertisement to generate revenue so as to keep our business going.” This is the conflict at the heart of ad-supported free VPN apps in a nutshell. While the devs may well currently be acting in good faith, there is no guarantee for the user that future updates don’t include the necessary permissions to activate the functions listed. In the event of financial pressures for example, the lure of extra advertising dollars from 10 million users would be hard to resist.

Read our full Turbo VPN review.


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VPN Master – Free unblock Proxy VPN & security VPN

VPN Master Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Innovative Connecting

APK file name: free.vpn.unblock.proxy.vpnmaster

Installs

10,000,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • java/net/Runtime;-?exec | Execute system command
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic

VPN Provider Response

After initially giving us the brush-off, the developers provided a detailed response, summary as follows:

Note that the same developers are also responsible Turbo VPN, for which they provided a very similar response.

  • LocationManager. ->getLastKnownLocation
  • ContentResolver; ->delete
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId

The devs acknowledged that these functions could be used to collect sensitive as well as non-sensitive information, stating that the “the [third-party] advertising platforms are trying to obtain those information [sic] for personalized advertising purpose”. However the devs stated they did not request the necessary permissions in order to protect user privacy.

Beyond using the user’s country to provide the fastest server, however, the devs did not specify what the functions were actually used for.

  • Java/lang/Runtime; >exec | Execute system command

“Since we already have over 1,000 servers, in order to improve the user experience, we will ping if necessary, so as to select the most suitable server for different user.”

Our view is that while the devs may well currently be acting in good faith, there is no guarantee for the user that future updates don’t include the necessary permissions to activate the functions listed. In the event of financial pressures for example, the lure of extra advertising dollars from 10 million users would be hard to resist.


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Snap VPN – Unlimited Free & Super Fast VPN Proxy

Snap VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Lemon Clove

APK file name: free.vpn.unblock.proxy.vpnpro

Installs

10,000,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION

Leaks

DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic

Read our full Snap VPN review.


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Hola Free VPN Proxy

Hola Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Hola

APK file name: org.hola

Installs

10,000,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak
  • WebRTC leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Major abnormalities: 0

Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.

VPN Provider Response

Hola provided a swift response that was rather lacking in detail. Summary as follows:

  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION & LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation are used in Hola’s integrated Unblocker Browser. They claim this is necessary for “any standard browser”.
  • READ_PHONE_STATE & TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId are used to stop data transmission when a call is active.
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE – no explanation provided

Our view is that these are weak justifications for these combinations of intrusive permissions and risky functions. Not only is it possible for an integrated browser to function without access to GPS data but it’s also not core functionality for a VPN. Nor do we see the highly intrusive READ_PHONE_STATE permission on paid-for VPN apps that provider higher-level performance than Hola.

Read our full Hola review.


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SpeedVPN Free VPN Proxy

SpeedVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: GoSpeed Software

APK file name: us.gospeed.speedvpn

Installs

10,000,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Major abnormalities: 1

Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.


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VPN Private

VPN Private Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: VPN Private

APK file name: us.unbounded.vpn_private

Installs

10,000,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • ContactResolver;->query | Read databases like contacts or SMS
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

    • Major abnormalities: 0

Minor aberrations: 2

VPN Response

VPN Private provided a swift and reasonably detailed response and were at pains to emphasize that they do not store identifiable information about users while connection metadata is stored for less than a day. Summary as follows:

  • ContentResolver;->query is used to get device ID to let a user get access to their servers.
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation & java/lang/Runtime;->exec are both used by OpenVPN and IPSec connected libraries, with the developer claiming not to personally interact with them on any level.

Our view is that while these methods may well be used in good faith, this does not mean that they are optimal from a privacy perspective. The more personal data that is sought and used by an app, the greater the risk and vulnerability created.

Full network test results.


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VPN Free – Betternet Hotspot VPN & Private Browser

Betternet Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Betternet LLC

APK file name: com.freevpnintouch

Installs

10,000,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 2
  • Minor aberrations: 7

Full network test results.

VPN Provider Response

Betternet sent a canned response, as follows only to close the issue the next day.

“Thank you for contacting us about the possibility of working with us.

“Your message was passed on to the proper team for review. If there is interest, they will be in touch with you.

Thank you again and have a great day.”

Our view is that this is an incredibly disrespectful way to treat the issue of user privacy.

Read our full Betternet Free review.


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Touch VPN -Free Unlimited VPN Proxy & WiFi Privacy

TouchVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: TouchVPN Inc.

APK file name: com.northghost.touchvpn

Installs

10,000,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.

Read our full Touch VPN review.


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AnonyTun

AnonyTun Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Art Of Tunnel

APK file name: com.anonytun.android

Installs

5,000,000+ | 4.2 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Major abnormalities: 0

Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.

VPN Provider Response

The AnonyTun developers provided a brief response as follows:

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE allows users to save a configuration that they can export or share with fellow users.
  • “For the rest of the stuff , they may be coming from Google SDK, we have no need for users sms or location.”

Our view is that this shows – at best – a disturbing lack of knowledge of how their own app works that should give users pause for thought before entrusting them with their internet activity and all the personal data that entails.


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Super VPN – Best Free Proxy

Super VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: SuperVPN Inc

APK file name: com.chengcheng.FreeVPN

Installs

5,000,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 1

Full network test results.


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EasyOvpn – Plugin for OpenVPN

EasyOvpn Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Easy4U Ltd.

APK file name: com.easyovpn.easyovpn

Installs

5,000,000+ | 4.2 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 6

Full network test results.


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Secure VPN – A high speed, ultra secure VPN

Secure VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Signal Lab

APK file name: com.fast.free.unblock.secure.vpn

Installs

5,000,000 | 4.2 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • BLUETOOTH

Leaks

DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.


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Thunder VPN – A Fast, Unlimited, Free VPN Proxy

Thunder VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Signal Lab

APK file name: com.fast.free.unblock.thunder.vpn

Installs

5,000,000 | 4.8 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • BLUETOOTH

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • ActivityManager;->killBackgroundProcesses | Kill processes like AV

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.

Read our full Thunder VPN review.


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Yoga VPN – Free Unlimited & Secure Proxy & Unblock

Yoga VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Sarah Hawken

APK file name: com.yogavpn

Installs

5,000,000+ | 4.7 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE

Leaks

  • DNS leak
  • WebRTC leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic

Read our full Yoga VPN review.


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X-VPN – Free Unlimited VPN Proxy

X-VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Free Connected Limited

APK file name: com.security.xvpn.z35kb

Installs

5,000,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 5

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN Provider Response

X-VPN developers provided a swift and detailed response, summary as follows:

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE – required in order to serve adverts on devices running certain versions of Android.
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec allows them to see whether a device has been rooted, which helps with troubleshooting connection issues on such devices. The dev says they plan to remove this soon as they have found a better way of achieving this.
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation – The developer was unaware of the presence of this function in their code, so we shared our data with them for further investigation.

Our view is that while the developer response certainly shows a lack of malicious intent and that this app is relatively low risk, it’s illustrative of the price you pay for a free VPN app. Certain ad platforms require intrusive permissions for example. We are also concerned that this app may contain functions that the developer is unaware of and we will update as we learn more.

Read our full X-VPN Free review.


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TunnelBear VPN

TunnelBear VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer:TunnelBear, LLC

APK file name: com.tunnelbear.android

Installs

5,000,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 5

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

FlashVPN Free VPN Proxy

FlashVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: FlashSoftware

APK file name: net.flashsoft.flashvpn.activity

Installs

5,000,000+ | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.


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VPN Robot – Free Unlimited VPN Proxy &WiFi Security

VPN Robot Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Lemon Clove

APK file name: free.vpn.unblock.proxy.freenetvpn

Installs

5,000,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACTIVITY_RECOGNITION

Leaks

DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

Unlimited Free VPN Monster – Fast Secure VPN Proxy

Unlimited Free VPN Monster Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Autumn Breeze 2018

APK file name: free.vpn.unblock.proxy.vpnmonster

Installs

5,000,000+ | 4.7 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

TapVPN Free VPN

TapVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Mobbo

APK file name: pm.tap.vpn

Installs

5,000,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 2

Back to Risk Index

Ultrasurf (beta) – Unlimited Free VPN Proxy

Ultrasurf Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Ultrareach

APK file name: us.ultrasurf.mobile.ultrasurf

Installs

5,000,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

  • Ad-Aware: Android.Riskware.FakeApk.gUKNG
  • Arcabit: Android.Riskware.FakeApk.gUKNG
  • BitDefender: Android.Riskware.FakeApk.gUKNG
  • Cyren: AndroidOS/GenBl.A36902B7!Olympus
  • Emsisoft: Android.Riskware.FakeApk.gUKNG
  • F-Secure: Android.Riskware.FakeApk
  • GData: Android.Riskware.FakeApk.gUKNG
  • K7GW: Trojan ( 0001140e1 )
  • eScan: Android.Riskware.FakeApk.gUKNG

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 8

VPN Provider Response

Ultrasurf responded quickly but denied that the tests were accurate:

“We don’t use LocationManager and ContentResolver. We don’t know why there are false positives etierh [sic]. The app is extremely simple, it just sets up [a] VPN service and tunnel[s] the network traffic in an encrypted tunnel.”

Our view is that this is clearly an app to avoid given the many issues uncovered in our tests.


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Free VPN Unlimited Proxy – Proxy Master

Proxy Master Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Hotspot VPN( Proxy & Security )

APK file name: com.freevpn.unblock.proxy

Installs

5,000,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • PowerManager;->reboot | Reboot phone
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • TelephonyManager;->getLine1Number | Get phone number
  • TelephonyManager;->getSimSerialNumber | Get SIM serial number
  • SmsManager;->sendTextMessage | Send normal SMS
  • ActivityManager;->killBackgroundProcesses | Kill processes like AV
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

  • ESET-NOD32: a variant of Android/DataCollector.Utilcode.A, potentially unsafe

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic

Read our full Proxy Master review.


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Zero VPN

Zero VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: TNTAPP

APK file name: net.tntapp.app.zerovpn

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

  • Jiangmin: DoS.Linux.wp

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

HOT VPN – Free?Unblock?Proxy

HOT VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Autumn Breeze 2018

APK file name: co.acnet.hotvpn

Installs

1,000,000+ total installs | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors/Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command
  • ContentResolver;->delete | Delete contact or sms

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

Hammer VPN

Hammer VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: TunnelGuru

APK file name: com.in.hammervpn

Installs

1,000,000+ total installs | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • TelephonyManager;->getSimSerialNumber | Get SIM serial number

Virus Test Positives

  • Babable: PUP.HighConfidence

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 2

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Troid VPN Free VPN Proxy

Troid VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: TunnelGuru

APK file name: com.in.troidvpn

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • TelephonyManager;->getSimSerialNumber | Get SIM serial number

Virus Test Positives

  • Babable: PUP.HighConfidence

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 2

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN 360 – Unlimited Free VPN Proxy

VPN 360 Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: TouchVPN Inc.

APK file name: co.infinitysoft.vpn360

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic

Read our full VPN 360 review.


Back to Risk Index

Free Unlimited VPN Proxy: VPNhub – Safely Hide IP

VPNhub Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: AppAtomic Limited

APK file name: com.appatomic.vpnhub

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.

VPN Provider Response

The VPNHub developers provided the following response:

“We couldn’t find any reference to location services in vpnhub. Neither in the code, nor in the manifest file via permissions.”

Our view is that the developer has provided their response in good faith, however scans of the latest version of the app (1.4.1) reveal that the app still does contain the risky functions. It’s important to note that there are no permissions currently included in the app that would permit any intrusions of privacy via these functions. However, as we have stated with all apps with similar findings, there is no guarantee that this won’t change with future updates to the app and that it’s better to remove them entirely.

Read our full VPNHub review.


Back to Risk Index

VPN super free proxy master unblock sites

VPN super free Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: SHSApps

APK file name: com.baaghidevelopers.proxy.vpn

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.2 star rating | App deleted from Play Store and reuploaded here

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • IP leak
  • WebRTC leak
  • DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 1

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Browsec VPN – Free and Unlimited VPN

VPN super free Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Browsec LLC

APK file name: com.browsec.vpn

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_CONTACTS

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 1

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Free & Premium VPN – FinchVPN

FinchVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Finch Technology Enterprises

APK file name: com.finchvpn.android

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.2 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 3
  • Minor aberrations: 6

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Speedify – Bonding VPN

Speedify Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Connectify Inc.

APK file name: com.speedify.speedifyandroid

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.0 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE

Leaks

None

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • TelephonyManager;->getLine1Number | Get phone number

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 8

VPN Provider Response

Speedify responded very quickly and in detail. Summary as follows:

  • WRITE_SETTINGS – used in Android 6.0.0 to deal with a very specific network state bug in that version only that caused battery drain.
  • READ_PHONE_STATE – gets cellular network name to show in the user interface. It may also be used to create a unique, one-way hash for the user to allow them to use the app without logging in. Optional permission, app works fine without it.
  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION – gets city-level location to connect to closest server. They have servers in 70+ locations and they state performance is much better when using closest server. Optional permission at runtime. App works fine without it but may not connect to most optimal server.
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec is used to gather the crash reports from the user’s system (via ‘logcat -b crash’) when they select Help > Generate Log File.
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId – creates a unique one-way hash for the user that allows them to anonymously get the 5GB per month from Speedify. “We need to find some kind of unique ID that the user has granted us permission to view. So we try to pull fields from the TelephonyManager (which is only accessible if they granted the optional READ_PHONE_STATE permission) and ANDROID_ID (via ContentResolver) to find something we can hash. This is to allow users to freely and anonymously use the app without having to register.”
  • TelephonyManager;->getLine1Number – “We don’t want the phone number; thanks for that find! We just found that and pulled it. Trying to get a new release out tonight with that fix.”

Our view is that these are legitimate and privacy-friendly uses of these permissions and functions. While we don’t support use of location tracking even for server selection optimisation, the fact that this is an optional permission at runtime mitigates the issue. We were impressed at this provider’s willingness to engage with our findings and quickly remove any unnecessary risky functions.

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Hotspot VPN – Super Free VPN Unlimited Proxy

Hotspot VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Hotspot VPN( Proxy & Security )

APK file name: com.supervpn.freevpn

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • CAMERA
  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • BLUETOOTH
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • RECORD_AUDIO

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • PowerManager;->reboot | Reboot phone
  • TelephonyManager;->getLine1Number | Get phone number
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • TelephonyManager;->getSimSerialNumber | Get SIM serial number
  • SmsManager;->sendTextMessage | Send normal SMS
  • ActivityManager;->killBackgroundProcesses | Kill processes like AV
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

Solo VPN – One Tap Free Proxy

Solo VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: SoloVPN & NCleaner – Notification Cleaner Productivity

APK file name: co.solovpn

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 5

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN Proxy by Hexatech – Secure VPN & Unlimited VPN

VPN Proxy by Hexatech Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Betternet LLC

APK file name: tech.hexa

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 2
  • Minor aberrations: 8

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

SkyVPN – Best Free VPN Proxy for Secure WiFi Hotspot

VPN Proxy by Hexatech Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Sentry SkyVPN Security Team

APK file name: me.skyvpn.app

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESSS_FINE_LOCATION
  • CAMERA
  • READ_CALENDAR
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_CALENDAR
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • Camera;->open | Open camera
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command
  • TelephonyManager;->getLine1Number | Get phone number
  • TelephonyManager;->getSimSerialNumber | Get SIM serial number

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 2

Full network test results.

Read our full Sky VPN review.


Back to Risk Index

LinkVPN Free VPN Proxy

LinkVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: FuryWeb Tech

APK file name: org.furyweb.linkvpn

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 1

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN Unblocker Free unlimited Best Anonymous Secure

VPN Unblocker Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Royal Partner Company

APK file name: com.unlockme.vpn

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.2 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 1

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

FREE VPN – Unseen Online

Unseen Online Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: FREE VPN – Unseen Online

APK file name: com.unseenonline

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 1

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

GeckoVPN Free Fast Unlimited Proxy VPN

GeckoVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Best Free VPN Proxy

APK File name: org.geckonet.gecko

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 4

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Easy VPN – Free VPN proxy master, super VPN shield

Easy VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Hotspot VPN( Proxy & Security )

APK file name: easyvpn.free.vpn.unblock.proxy

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • TelephonyManager;->getLine1Number | Get phone number
  • TelephonyManager;->getSimSerialNumber | Get SIM serial number
  • SmsManager;->sendTextMessage | Send normal sms
  • ActivityManager;->killBackgroundProcesses | Kill process like AV
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

  • ESET-NOD32: a variant of Android/DataCollector.Utilcode.A
  • Symantec Mobile Insight: AdLibrary:Generisk
  • Ikarus: PUA.AndroidOS.DataCollector

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

VPN Easy – best free proxy

VPN Easy Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: ZPN

APK file name: free.vpn.proxy.unblock.android.easy.app

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions\Behaviors

  • Camera;->open | Open camera

Virus Test Positives

  • Fortinet: Adware/AdColony!Android

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 1

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Secure VPN – Free VPN Proxy, Best & Fast Shield

Secure VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Hotspot VPN( Proxy & Security )

APK file name: free.vpn.unblock.proxy.securevpn

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

  • ESET-NOD32: a variant of Android/DataCollector.Utilcode.A
  • Ikarus: PUA.AndroidOS.DataCollector
  • Symantec Mobile Insight: AdLibrary:Generisk
  • Cyren: AndroidOS/GenPua.0D3DE005!Olympus

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

Free VPN Proxy – ZPN

ZPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: ZPN

APK file name: im.zpn

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic

Read our full ZPN review.


Back to Risk Index

VPN Unblock Bokep Sites

VPN Unblock Bokep Sites Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Vpn Internet

APK file name: vpn.bokep.buka.blokir.internet.positif

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.1 star rating | App since removed from Play Store

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • Camera;->open | Open camera
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 7

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN Over DNS Tunnel : SlowDNS

Slow DNS Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: TunnelGuru

APK file name: com.in.troiddns

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • TelephonyManager;->getSimSerialNumber | Get SIM serial number
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

  • Babable: PUP.HighConfidence

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 9

See full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Best VPN Proxy OvpnSpider

OvpnSpider Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: WCOMES TECHNOLOGIES CO.,LIMITED

APK file name: com.ovpnspider

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.1 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS Leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • TelephonyManager;->getSimSerialNumber | Get SIM serial number
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

  • Cyren: AndroidOS/GenPUA.FC71B244!Olympus
  • ESET-NOD32: a variant of Android/Packed.TencentProtect.B potentially unsafe
  • Ikarus: Adware.AndroidOS.TencentProtect

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 4

See full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN Unlimited Proxy AppVPN

AppVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: WCOMES TECHNOLOGIES CO.,LIMITED

APK file name: appvpn.vpn

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.1 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

  • Cyren: AndroidOS/GenPUA.FC71B244!Olympus
  • ESET-NOD32: a variant of Android/Packed.TencentProtectB
  • Ikarus: Adware.AndroidOS.TencentProtect
  • Qihoo-360: Trojan.Android.Gen
  • TrendMicro-HouseCall: Suspicious_GEN.F47V0830

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 2

See full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

WhatsVPN – Unlimited Free VPN

WhatsVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Unlimited DT Security Studio

APK file name: com.infvpn.turbo.free.proxy.whatsvpn

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.7 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

VPN Proxy Master – free unblock VPN & security VPN

VPN Proxy Master Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Innovative Connecting

APK file name: free.vpn.unblock.proxy.vpn.master.pro

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.7 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

  • Babable: PUP.HighConfidence

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic

Read our full VPN Proxy Master review.


Back to Risk Index

Amaze VPN (Free VPN Proxy)

Amaze VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: FreeVPN

APK file name: free.unblock.vpnpro

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None found

Virus Test Positives

  • Trustlook: Android.Malware.General (score:9)

Network Test Results

    • Major abnormalities: 1
    • Minor aberrations: 5

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Rocket VPN – Internet Freedom

Rocket VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Liquidum Limited

APK file name: com.liquidum.rocketvpn

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Windscribe VPN

Windscribe VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Windscribe

APK file name: com.windscribe.vpn.apk

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.2 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 1

VPN Provider Response

The founder of Windscribe provided a swift response, summary as follows:

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation – “Location access is a runtime permission that’s requested if the user wants to take advantage of the network whitelisting functionality, as it’s required to read Wifi SSID and cellular network APN on newer versions of Android. We don’t use any physical location APIs, as those are pointless for our purposes. This permission is optional and does not need to be granted for the app to work, but network whitelisting will not work.“
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec is used to run the Stunnel library, which is a separate process that provides openvpn tunnel encapsulation.

Our view is that these are perfectly reasonable uses of these functions. Rather than being used for advertising or as a result of a third-party library, the location function is for an optional feature that allows users to whitelist trusted networks. Highly privacy-conscious users will simply ignore that feature. The runtime function is also perfectly legitimate. Due to its freemium model, Windscribe avoids the typical problems associated with ad-supported apps and is among the best services of its kind.

Read our full Windscribe Free review.


Back to Risk Index

Kaspersky VPN

Kaspersky VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Kaspersky

APK file name: com.kaspersky.secure.connection.apk

Installs

1,000,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • ActivityManager;->killBackgroundProcesses | Kill process like AV
  • ActivityManager;->restartPackage | Kill process like AV

Virus Test Positives

  • Babable: PUP.HighConfidence

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 4

Back to Risk Index

VPN Provider Response

Kaspersky Lab provided us with the following detailed statement:

Kaspersky Lab is aware of concerns that some functions of Kaspersky Secure Connection for Android may pose a danger to user privacy. We would like to assure customers that these functions and behaviors found in the source code of our apps are not intended to compromise users in any way. It is worth noting that the functions below are due to Kaspersky Secure Connection being based upon Kaspersky Mobile SDK (Software Development Kit) and including parts of the anti-virus functionality used in other Kaspersky products.

In relation to the specific functions that were thought to be potentially dangerous:

LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation

This function is a part android.support.v7 library used for the Dark Mode supporting, which appeared in the latest Android Versions.

java/lang/Runtime;->exec

This function allows the running of the chmod command. Chmod is used to change permissions of the HTML page which a user is redirected to when trying to visit blocked resources. It can’t be initiated from a VPN and will be removed from future versions of the product.

ActivityManager;->killBackgroundProcesses

The function can disable other programs and processes, but it can’t be initiated from a VPN and will be removed from future versions of the product. This feature doesn’t retrieve any confidential information and can’t compromise user privacy.

TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId

This is a unique identifier used to register devices on My Kaspersky (the online service for managing the security of all your devices). With Kaspersky Secure Connection, My Kaspersky is used for product licensing and premium account activation. My Kaspersky allows customers to manage the security of several devices connected to one account – for example, to check and change the protection status of those devices and take other measures to increase their security. Processing of these identifiers is stated in the End User License Agreement.

ActivityManager;->restartPackage

The function can disable other programs and processes. However, it can’t be initiated from a VPN and will be removed from future versions of the product. Additionally, we would like to reassure customers that this feature doesn’t retrieve any confidential information about the user and therefore can’t compromise privacy.

The security of our customers and their privacy remain top priorities for the company. All data collected by our app is stated in the End User License Agreement.

Our view is that it’s commendable that Kaspersky not only provided such a detailed statement but also committed to removing risky functions that are unnecessary for the product. However, we are much less comfortable with the degree of user identification taking place as outlined in the EULA and with the fact that information is shared with the third-party operating the VPN network used by the app (AnchorFree in this instance, the operator of Hotspot Shield). Anyone serious about privacy should really look elsewhere.

Secure Web VPN

Rocket VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Secure Web

APK file name: com.secureweb

Installs

500,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

ACT VPN – Unlimited Free VPN & Fast VPN Proxy

ACT VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: VPN ??

APK file name: com.vpn.kmvpn11

Installs

500,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

  • K7GW: Adware ( 0052b8661 )

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

GO VPN Proxy Master

GO VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: VPNMaster Team

APK file name: free.unblock.proxy.unlimited.vpnmaster

Installs

500,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_PHONE_STATE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getLine1Number | Get phone number
  • ActivityManager;->killBackgroundProcesses | Kill process like AV

Virus Test Positives

  • Cyren: AndroidOS/GenGl.FEAFC1A!Olympus
  • Symantec Mobile Insight: AppRIsk:Generisk

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 4

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Hideman Free VPN

Hideman Free VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Hideman Ltd

APK file name: net.hideman.free

Installs

500,000+ | 4.1 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

MoonVPN Free VPN Unblock Proxy

MoonVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: MoonRun Tech

APK file name: org.moonrun.moonvpn

Installs

500,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 2

Full network test results.

VPN Provider Response

Hideman provided a swift if brief and transparent response. Summary as follows:

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation & TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId – Hideman pointed out that their app doesn’t ask for any permissions when it runs so they can’t access SMS or location. They stated that LocationManager was “only used by Firebase Ads library”.
  • READ_PHONE_STATE – this was used in previous versions of the app to enable the function above to read the device ID, albeit in hashed form “which means that it is almost impossible to recover the real device identifier”. They say that this is no longer used.

Our view is that while these functions and permissions may “only” have been used for advertising and not actively compromising privacy, they remain risky in nature and open to potential future abuses in the case of app updates or changes in ownership of the app. We also note that it’s only “almost” impossible to recover the real device ID once hashed.


Back to Risk Index

Bestline VPN – Free & Fast & Unlimited & Unblock

Bestline VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Unlimited DT Security Studio

APK file name: co.bestline.turbo.free.vpn.unblock.proxy

Installs

500,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

Free and Unlimited VPN – Safe, Secure, Private!

Free and Unlimited VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Gibli Mobile

APK file name: com.free_vpn

Installs

500,000+ | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

Hotspot VPN – Free, Unlimited, Fast and Secure

Hotspot VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Hotspot VPN

APK file name: com.hotspotvpn.android

Installs

500,000+ | 4.1 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

  • ESET-NOD32: a variant of Android/DataCollector.Utilcode.A potentially unsafe

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

Power VPN Free VPN

Power VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: PowerVPN

APK file name: com.vpn.powervpn

Installs

500,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 3

PowerVPN provided a response that while covering all necessary points was a little lacking in detail. They also stated they were “in process of adding proper clarifications in the VPN for the permissions etc”. Summary as follows:

  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION is used for “advertising and location detection purposes to select servers”.
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE is used for “advertising and caching data”.
  • READ_PHONE_STATE is used to automatically pause or restart VPN connections when making calls or sending SMS, and to detect network (ie 3G or 4G).
  • LocationManager->getLastKnownLocation is used for “advertising and location detection purposes to select servers”.
  • ContentResolver;->query is present as a result of 3rd party libraries. While the developer stated it was not used for reading user SMS, they failed to provide any further info.

Our view is that this is a typical example of how free VPN apps so often fail to prioritize user privacy over advertising and ease of development. There is no absolute need to access a user’s GPS data in order to serve them ads for example. None of the above items are critical to the functioning of a VPN and yet all increase the risk to user privacy. Note that we also asked about the GET_TASKS permission, which the developer states they use to track which apps you are using with their VPN. While they may claim not to sell this data to any third-party, we are not comfortable with a VPN app monitoring user behavior in this way.

VPN Provider Resp

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

EagleVPN – Free.unblock.proxy

EagleVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Eagle VPN proxy

APK file name: free.unblock.pro.flashvpn

Installs

500,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

  • Trustlook: Android.Malware.General (score:9)

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 4

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

HotVPN – Free.unblock.fast proxy VPN

HOTVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: HOTVPN Team

APK file name: free.unblock.proxy.unlimited.hotvpn

Installs

500,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

  • Trustlook: Android.Malware.General (score:9)

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

Free VPN – Super Unblock Proxy Master Hotspot VPN

Free VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Super VPN & Free Proxy

APK file name: free.vpn.proxy.unblock.svd

Installs

500,000+ | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

Stark VPN

Stark VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: iStark

APK file name: net.starkvpn.starkvpn

Installs

500,000+ | 4.2 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic

VPN Provider Response

The Stark VPN developers provided a very brief response, which as it was identical to that from Anonytun reveals them to be the same people despite a different developer name, details as follows:

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE allows users to save a configuration that they can export or share with fellow users.
  • “For the rest of the stuff , they may be coming from Google SDK, we have no need for users sms or location.”

Our view is that this shows – at best – a disturbing lack of knowledge of how their own app works that should give users pause for thought before entrusting them with their internet activity and all the personal data that entails.


Back to Risk Index

Free VPN by FreeVPN.org

Free VPN by FreeVPN.org Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: FREE VPN LLC

APK file name: org.freevpn

Installs

500,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 1

Full network test results.

Read our full Free VPN by FreeVPN.org review.


Back to Risk Index

InvinciBull VPN – Safe. Private. Invincible.

InvinciBull VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Finjan Mobile, Inc

APK file name: com.finjan.securebrowser

Installs

500,000+ | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getLine1Number | Get phone number
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 2

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Atom VPN (100% free)

Atom VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Atomvpn.com

APK file name: com.atom.socks5

Installs

500,000+ | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 4

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Wuma VPN-PRO (Fast & Unlimited & Security)

Wuma VPN-PRO Play Store screenshot

Developer: ??wuma vpn

Details

APK file name: com.muma.pn

Installs

500,000+ | 4.8 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

  • ESET-NOD32: a variant of Android/Packed.TencentProtect.B potentially unsafe
  • K7GW: Adware ( 0052b8671 )
  • Symantec Mobile Insight: AdLibrary: Generisk

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 7

VPN Provider Response

The developers of wuma vpn provided a highly detailed response, summary as follows:

  • READ_PHONE_STATE is used by a third-party mobile analytics platform (from Chinese company Umeng) to identify a device and complete app usage stats.
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE & READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE is used to enable this VPN’s approach to user registration and incentivisation. Users are awarded coins for actions like sharing the VPN with friends that unlock additional servers. This permission allows storage of data relating to coins and associated user ID to avoid its loss in the event of reinstallation. This is optional.

Our view is that while these permissions appear to have been used in good faith, it does not alter the fact that their presence constitutes a privacy risk and that there are more privacy-friendly means to achieve the same goals. However in a positive development, the developer stated, “as you are so concerned and sensitive about these permissions, we will consider removing them after the next version (V4.0).”

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN Lighter – Free Unlimited VPN

VPN Lighter Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Sarah Hawken

APK file name: com.yogavpn.free.unblock.ligher.proxy

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

Hi VPN Pro – Free Unlimited Proxy & Hotspot VPN

Hi VPN Pro Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Hi Security

APK file name: com.ehawk.proxy.freevpn.pro

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • TelephonyManager;->getSimSerialNumber | Get SIM serial number
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 2
  • Minor aberrations: 4

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Super VPN Hotspot Free Secure VPN Proxy Master

Hi VPN Pro Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Tech Insta Lab

APK file name: com.droidmentor.super_vpn_proxy_turbo_master.unblock_site

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • BLUETOOTH

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 2
  • Minor aberrations: 8

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN Dog – Free & Fast & Unlimited & Unblock

VPN Dog Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Huago

APK file name: com.go.vpndog

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • SEND_SMS
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 3
  • Minor aberrations: 6

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

FREE VPN – Unlimited Free Fast VPN for Android

FREE VPN Unlimited Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: FREE VPN (Unlimited Fast VPN Master)

APK file name: com.open.hotspot.vpn.free

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 2
  • Minor aberrations: 6

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Unlimited Free VPN Proxy By Hello VPN

Hello VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: appmobyu

APK file name: free.unblock.hellovpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

  • Trustlook: Android.Malware.General (score:9) 20181130

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 2
  • Minor aberrations: 6

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

AIR VPN – Free VPN Proxy Best & Fast Shield

AIR VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: free vpn proxy

APK file name: com.vpn.tianxing.vpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.7 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

  • K7GW: Adware ( 0052b8661 ) 20181129

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 4

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Free VPN Proxy & WiFi Security – SaferVPN

Safer VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Safer Social Ltd

APK file name: com.safervpn.android

Installs

100,000 | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command
  • Camera;->open | Open camera
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic

VPN Provider Response

After initially failing to provide any information, the developers (Safer Social Ltd) did send us a very detailed response, which is summarised as follows:

  • ContentResolver;->query – “We are using it to get the unique random Android Application ID that is generated uniquely to each combination of app-signing key, user, and device (randomized). This value is being regenerated upon application install / uninstall and does not identify the users or any private information, at any case. We use it to prevent abuse of our free trial without credit card registration.”
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation – “We didn’t find any reference to the LocationManager within our source code or tracking the geo location of our users.”
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec – “We store debug logs locally on the device. The logs are needed to be extracted and sent manually by the user in some cases that required upon support request. The logs are generic service logs that are helping our support to address some cases.”
  • Camera;->open – “We previously had the option to scan the credit card to make it easier to purchase the VPN subscription. We removed it due to privacy concerns of utilizing the camera and removed the meta permissions required by the user. This feature was disabled and is not being used / executed. It is important to stress that Camera permissions are not enabled / asked to be given by the users so even if the code is executed somehow it will throw and exception because of the missing permissions. Again, the code and the credit card camera scanning is disabled over a year now which is meaningless.”
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId – “We don’t use the getDeviceId method — would appreciate if you can send over the test report that points it out so we could address it better. However we do use the method getSimCountryIso to select the closest VPN location for the user as default. The information is not being sent to the servers side and is being used only internally within the app to select the default VPN location in ease.”

Our view is that while the level of detail provided is a positive, we remain unconvinced about the safety of this app. Scans of the latest version of the app (4.1.11) show that while the camera permission has been removed, the command remains in the code – leaving the door open for potential future abuses. The location and device ID commands also remain present in the latest results despite the developers’ dispute of the fact. This developer should find alternative ways to achieve its objectives than these privacy-risking methods.

Read our full SaferVPN review.


Back to Risk Index

Reindeer VPN – Proxy VPN

Reindeer VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Tetrastar technology CO,.

APK file name: com.biganiseed.reindeer

Installs

100,000 | 4.2 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • BLUETOOTH
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • Telephony Manager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

No anomalies


Back to Risk Index

Free VPN and Fast Connect – OpenVPN for Android

OpenVPN for Android Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: ATH Software

APK file name: com.apptonghop.vpnfastconnect

Installs

100,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 4

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Hotspot VPN – Free Unlimited & Super VPN Proxy

Hotspot VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Aresmob Studio

APK file name: com.aresmob.hotspotvpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.2 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • None found

Virus Test Positives

  • Babable: PUP.HighConfidence
  • CAT-QUickHeal: Android.Wapron.GEN24505 (PUP)
  • ESET-NOD32: a variant of Android/Packed.Jiagu.D
  • Ikarus: PUA.AndroidOS.Jiagu
  • K7GW: Trojan ( 005259891 )
  • Symantec Mobile Insight: AdLibrary:Generisk

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 1

See full network test


Back to Risk Index

VPN Express – School VPN & Unlimited & Unblock

VPN Express Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: FIFA VPN

APK file name: com.atschoolfree.proxy.express.vpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.7 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 6

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Bot Changer VPN – Free VPN Proxy & Wi-Fi Security

Bot Changer VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Bot Changer, Inc.

APK file name: com.botchanger.vpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • BLUETOOTH
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

None

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Leafy VPN – Free VPN : Smarter And More Efficient

Leafy VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Nacl LLC

APK file name: org.amalgam.laboratory

Installs

100,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 2
  • Minor aberrations: 5

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Super Fast Hot VPN Free Vpn Proxy Master

Super Fast Hot VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: InstaBerry

APK file name: com.editorstudio.super_hot_vpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

  • DNS leak
  • IP leak
  • WebRTC leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN 365 – Free Unlimited VPN Proxy & WiFi VPN

VPN 365 Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Better Proxy

APK file name: com.facefaster.android.box

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

Free VPN by FireVPN

FireVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: FireVPN

APK file name: com.firevpn.vpn

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

No anomalies


Back to Risk Index

Freedom VPN – Free, Secure, Best Service & Speed

Freedom VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Hallow Smart

APK file name: com.freedomvpn.privatesecurefast

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.1 star rating | App since removed from Play Store

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 2

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Free VPN Master – Fast secure proxy VPN

Free VPN Master Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Freemaster2018

APK file name: com.free.fast.master.unblock.proxy.vpn

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.8 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 5

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Free Proxy Master

Free Proxy Master Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: DevProm

APK file name: com.freemaster.proxy

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • SEND_SMS
  • READ_CONTACTS
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • ContentResolver;->query | Read database like contact or sms
  • PowerManager;->reboot | Reboot cellphone
  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • TelephonyManager;->getSimSerialNumber | Get SIM serial number
  • TelephonyManager;->getLine1Number | Get phone number
  • SmsManager;->sendTextMessage | Send normal sms
  • ActivityManager;->killBackgroundProcesses | Kill process like AV
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 2

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Super Turbo VPN Unblocker

Super Turbo VPN Unblocker Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Unlimited Freedom Apps

APK file name: com.free.super.turbo.vpn.unblocker

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Test fails


Back to Risk Index

Free VPN Unlimited Proxy By FishVPN

Super Turbo VPN Unblocker Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Connect Anywhere

APK file name: com.getfishvpn.fishvpn

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

Gulf Secure VPN

Gulf Secure VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Gulf Secure VPN

APK file name: com.gulfvpn

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic

VPN Provider Response

We received a one-line response from this developer, as follows:

Please review again, we don’t need these permissions anymore.

On testing the latest version of the app, the permissions had been removed.

Our view is that while it’s great news that the permissions are gone, it’s not ideal that the developer provided no information at all as to why they were previously part of the app. This does not indicate that they have a culture of transparency nor a focus on user privacy.


Back to Risk Index

Hoxx VPN

Hoxx VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Hoxx VPN

APK file name: com.hoxxvpn.main

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN Secure Touch Master Unblock Proxy Super Free

VPN Secure Touch Master Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Izzidroids

APK file name: com.Izzidroids.proxy.newvpn2018

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 5

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

JoyVPN High speed free VPN

JoyVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Emanuil Hristov

APK file name: com.joyvpn.android

Installs

100,000+ | 4.1 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

Test fails

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

  • AegisLab: Trojan.AndroidOS.Generic.C!c

Network Test Results

Test failed


Back to Risk Index

MaxVPN – Free Fast Connect & Unlimited VPN Client

MaxVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: LVVMobile

APK file name: com.klmobile.maxvpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

No anomalies


Back to Risk Index

VPN Free Super Hot VPN Touch Unblock Proxy

VPN Free Super Hot Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Instakeet

APK file name: com.logindroids.Hotfree.Vpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.0 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION

Leaks

Test failed

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Test failed


Back to Risk Index

VPN Melon – Unlimited•Fast•Proxy

VPN Melon Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Free Vpn Proxy

APK file name: com.mastervpn.melon

Installs

100,000+ | 4.6 star rating | App deleted from Google Play and reuploaded here

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

VPN Master – USA

VPN Master - USA Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Free Vpn Proxy

APK file name: com.mastervpn.usa

Installs

100,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

5G VPN

5G VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: mscmdh2

APK file name: com.mdh.vpn5g

Installs

100,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 2
  • Minor aberrations: 6

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN Free Super Speed Unblock Proxy Master

VPN Free Super Speed Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: ns studio

APK file name: com.nsstudio.vpnfree.superspeed.unblock.proxymaster

Installs

100,000+ | 4.2 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION

Leaks

Test failed

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Test failed


Back to Risk Index

OLO VPN – Unlimited Free VPN

OLO VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: OLO VPN PVT LTD

APK file name: com.olvovpn.app

Installs

100,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • BLUETOOTH
  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 6

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

USA VPN – Free VPN Proxy & Wi-Fi Security

USA VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: World Vpn

APK file name: com.ow.free.usavpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • TelephonyManager;->getLine1Number | Get phone number
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

VPN Unlimited, Unblock Websites – IP Changer

VPN Unlimited Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Genius Recorder

APK file name: com.proxyfree.ultimate.vpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Robo VPN – Free VPN PROXY

Robo VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Rosislav Oresharov

APK file name: com.robovpn.android

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

Tests failed

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Tests failed


Back to Risk Index

FastVPN – Free Secured Unlimited Fast VPN Proxy

FastVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: SuperApp Inc.

APK file name: com.superapp.fastvpn

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

UAE FastVPN – Free Unlimited Secured Unblocked VPN

UAE FastVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: SuperApp Inc.

APK file name: com.superapp.uaefastvpn

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.2 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

MyMobileSecure Unlimited VPN

MyMobileSecure Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: VoiceFive, Inc.

APK file name: com.voicefive.mms

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 4

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN Master & Free Unblock Proxy 2018

VPN Master Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Abso Green Apps

APK file name: com.vpn.masterfree.unblockproxy.free2018

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 2

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN Tube – Free VPN

VPN Tube Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: ITehno Viktor Vorobei SP

APK file name: com.vpn_tube.vpntube

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 4

VPN Provider Response

The developers of VPN Tube responded as follows:

“As a developer of this app, I can say that we don’t collect any information like user’s location or any IDs, but it may be collected by analytics services (Firebase) which we use in our app.

“So, I’m 100% sure that since Firebase is being included in our app as library dependency – only it may contain the code like you pointed above.”

Our view is that this response perfectly illustrates the approach to free app development that inadvertently puts user privacy at risk. A developer of such a sensitive category of app should have a clear understanding of every line of code in their app, including third-party libraries.

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Webzilla Unlimited Free VPN

Webzilla Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Webzilla Apps Inc

APK file name: com.webzilla.vpn

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • Camera;->open | Open camera

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 4

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Surf VPN – Best Free Unlimited Proxy

Surf VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: XSoft inc

APK file name: com.xfx.surfvpn

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.7 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

No anomalies

VPN Provider Response

Since we downloaded their apk file, the developer updated their app to remove the libraries requiring sensitive permissions and shared the update log with us.

We have rescanned to verify and all have been removed.

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation – the dev state it they do not use this explicitly and that while it may be part of a third-party library, the necessary permission is not part of the app.
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec is used call ping command to test the servers’ latency.

Our view is that the devs approach to permissions is positive and to be applauded. If anyone is using an older version of the app (before 1.6.1) should immediately update to the latest version. In terms of the risky functions, while it’s likely true that the location function is not being explicitly used, the door is open for future updates to change that. It’s a concern – although sadly very common in free apps – that the devs don’t know exactly what’s going on in the libraries they use and ideally they would extend the approach they have taken to sensitive permissions to these risky functions also.


Back to Risk Index

Xiaoming VPN

xiaomingvpn Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Xiaoming Addison

APK file name: com.xiaoming.vpn

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.8 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

  • Babable: PUP.HighConfidence 20180918
  • CAT-QuickHeal: Android.Wapron.GEN24505 (PUP) 20181130
  • Cyren: AndroidOS/GenPua.6E4D6FAC!Olympus 20181130
  • ESET-NOD32: a variant of Android/Packed.Jiagu.D potentially unsafe 20181130
  • K7GW: Trojan ( 0053576b1 ) 20181130
  • Symantec Mobile Insight: AdLibrary:Generisk 20181121

Network Test Results

Test fails

VPN Provider Response

The developer response is summarized as follows:

They blamed the presence of the sensitive permissions on “developer carelessness”, for which they apologized and promised to rectify by removing the “useless” permissions. They followed through and removed them within six hours, which we have been able to confirm.

Our view is conflicted. We are impressed by the developers responsiveness to the issue and how quickly it was resolved. However, it’s troubling that such sensitive permissions can be included because of “habitual” dev practices and that app testing did not pick this up. Unfortunately, analysis of the latest version of the app shows that there are still numerous positive matches for malware and so this app is still considered high risk.


Back to Risk Index

FastVPN – Free•unblock•proxy

FastVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: visual communication

APK file name: com.fast.vpnfree

Installs

100,000+ total installs | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 5

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Star VPN – Free VPN Proxy App

Star VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Star VPN

APK file name: com.peach.vpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.2 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 2

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Super Power VPN proxy Master-fast security privacy

Super Power VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: HOTVPN Team

APK file name: free.unblock.pro.powervpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

  • Trustlook: Android.Malware.General (score:9)

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 5

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

India VPN – Unlimited Free & Fast Security Proxy

India VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: World Vpn

APK file name: free.unblock.proxy.vpnindia.indiavpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

Combo VPN

Combo VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: iStark

APK file name: istark.combovpn.combovpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.1 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.

VPN Provider Response

The Combo VPN developers provided a very brief response, which as it was identical to not only their other app Stark VPN but also to the response for Anonytun, revealing them to be the same people despite a different developer name, details as follows:

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE allows users to save a configuration that they can export or share with fellow users.
  • “For the rest of the stuff , they may be coming from Google SDK, we have no need for users sms or location.”

Our view is that this shows – at best – a disturbing lack of knowledge of how their own app works that should give users pause for thought before entrusting them with their internet activity and all the personal data that entails.


Back to Risk Index

GetBehind.me | Ultimate VPN Provider

GetBehind.me Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Siteflex LLC

APK file name: me.getbehind.android

Installs

100,000+ | 4.0 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 5

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Cloud VPN – Proxy Server – Unlimited

Cloud VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: CM Team

APK file name: mobi.cmteam.cloudvpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 3

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Totally Free VPN Unlimited, Secure & Free!

Totally Free VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Rejinderi

APK file name: net.rejinderi.totallyfreevpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.1 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

No anomalies


Back to Risk Index

Free VPN – Unblock & Fast Hotspot Security Proxy

Free VPN - Unblock Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Super VPN & Free Proxy

APK file name: com.unblock.proxy.freevpn

Installs

100,000+ | 4.1 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 5

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN Gate List (Best Free VPN)

VPN Gate List Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Rejinderi

APK file name: net.rejinderi.vpngatelist

Installs

100,000+ | 4.0 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 7

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN Master

VPN Master Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: VPN Master

APK file name: vpn.vpnmaster

Installs

100,000+ | 4.0 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 6

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

21VPN – Unlimited & Free VPN

21VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: alloc64, s.r.o

APK file name: net.twentyonevpn.free.vpn.proxy.client

Installs

100,000+ | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 4

VPN Provider Response

The developers of 21VPN sent a highly detailed and thoughtful response to our enquiries, summary as follows:

    • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation & TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId are present due ad networks being used. They provided examples of networks being used: AdMob (Google), AppBrain, InMobi, IronSource, Vungle, UnityAds, AyetStudios, Tappx. However due to the lack of necessary permissions, these functions are not able to successfully execute. The dev stated they plan to reduce the use of ad networks in their next release.
    • java/lang/Runtime;->exec – the dev states the only functions in this class are calls for memory and processors.

WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE is used for storing logs by the IKEv2 daemon (IKEv2 is a VPN protocol) and for caching ads. The dev states they do not access private files on the device.

Our view is that while this is another example of advertising solutions causing potential privacy issues. While the risky functions may currently lack the relevant permissions to intrude on privacy, there’s no guarantee that should the app change hands in future that the developers continue to act in good faith. Consumers should also be aware of the ad caching issue and decide for themselves whether they are comfortable with the use of their device in such a way. Nevertheless, it’s a positive move that the devs are working on reducing the use of ad networks.

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Supper VPN Proxy

Supper VPN Proxy Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Abc Studio

APK file name: com.abcstudio.proxy.vpn

Installs

50,000+ | 4.2 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 3
  • Minor aberrations: 4

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN Proxy Pro 2017

VPN Proxy Pro Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Apps Island

APK file name: com.appsisland.pro.vpn.proxy

Installs

50,000+ | 4.2 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Blocks test traffic


Back to Risk Index

SuperVPN 2018 – Secure, Unlimited VPN Master Proxy

SuperVPN 2018 Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Aresmob Studio

APK file name: com.aresmob.supervpn2018

Installs

50,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_CONTACTS

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

  • Babable: PUP.HighConfidence
  • CAT-QuickHeal: Android.Wapron.GEN24505
  • Cyren: AndroidOS/GenPua.5923C3D0!Olympus
  • ESET-NOD32: a variant of Android/Packed.Jiagu.D
  • Ikarus: PUA.AndroidOS.Jiagu
  • K7GW: Trojan ( 005259891 )
  • Symantec Mobile Insight: AdLibrary:Generisk

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 1

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

VPN Sky – Super Free VPN Master Proxy

VPN Sky Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Aresmob Studio

APK file name: com.aresmob.vpnsky

Installs

50,000+ | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

None

Virus Test Positives

  • Babable: PUP.HighConfidence
  • CAT-QuickHeal: Android.Wapron.GEN24505
  • Cyren: AndroidOS/GenPua.5923C3D0!Olympus
  • ESET-NOD32: a variant of Android/Packed.Jiagu.D
  • Ikarus: PUA.AndroidOS.Jiagu
  • K7GW: Trojan ( 005259891 )
  • Symantec Mobile Insight: AdLibrary:Generisk

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 2

Full network test results.


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Easy VPN – Free VPN Proxy & Super Fast VPN Hotspot

Easy VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: ATH Software

APK file name: com.ath.easyvpn

Installs

50,000+ | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 1

Full network test results.


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Smart VPN – Unlimited Free VPN & Fast Security VPN

Smart VPN 2018 Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Brainlab

APK file name: com.brainlab.smartvpn

Installs

50,000+ | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command
  • ActivityManager;->killBackgroundProcesses | Kill process like AV

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 7

Back to Risk Index

Super VPN 2018 Unlimited Master Unblock Proxy

SuperVPN 2018 Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: MaazAppsMentor

APK file name: com.droidmentor.free_vpn_super_proxy_master_unlimited.unblock_site

Installs

50,000+ | 4.1 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

Test failed

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Test failed


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Free VPN

Free VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Emoji Studio – Free Music Player & QR Code & VPN

APK file name: com.emoji.freevpn

Installs

50,000+ | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

Test failed

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Test failed


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unlimited free easy vpn proxy

unlimited free easy vpn Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Apps Trend Setter

APK file name: com.free.unlimitedvpn.freeproxy.bestvpn.master.app

Installs

50,000+ | 4.2 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

Test failed

Dangerous Functions/Behaviors

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Test failed


Back to Risk Index

Best Free VPN – Squid VPN

Squid VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Professional VPN

APK file name: com.get.squidvpn

Installs

50,000+ total installs | 4.3 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • CAMERA
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • Camera;->open | Open camera

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 4

Full network test results.


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Best Free VPN Proxy – FalcoVPN

FalcoVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Infoweise Pty Ltd

APK file name: com.infoweise.falcovpn

Installs

50,000+ total installs | 4.5 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 2

Full network test results.


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Ghost Free VPN Super VPN Safe Connect

Ghost Free VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: BerryDevelopers

APK file name: com.loyeltech.free_super_vpn_ghost_master

Installs

50,000+ total installs | 4.4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 3
  • Minor aberrations: 8

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

MeteorVPN – FREE VPN

MeteorVPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Rosislav Oresharov

APK file name: com.meteorvpn.android

Installs

50,000+ total installs | 4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

Tests failed

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Tests failed


Back to Risk Index

Flash VPN – Best Free VPN Secure for Android

Flash VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Joymore Apps

APK file name: com.milk.ss

Installs

50,000+ total installs | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

  • DNS leak

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

  • Babable: PUP.HighConfidence 20180918
  • CAT-QuickHeal: Android.Wapron.GEN24505 (PUP) 20181205
  • ESET-NOD32: a variant of Android/Packed.Jiagu.D potentially unsafe 20181205
  • Ikarus: PUA.AndroidOS.Jiagu 20181204
  • Symantec Mobile Insight: AdLibrary:Generisk 20181204

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 0
  • Minor aberrations: 1

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

unblock websites proxy Free Unlimited VPN

Flash VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: khasologix

APK file name: com.phonevpnfree.unblocksites.proxybrowser

Installs

50,000+ total installs | 4 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 2
  • Minor aberrations: 4

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

SetupVPN

Flash VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: SetupVPN

APK file name: com.setupvpn.main

Installs

50,000+ total installs | 4.6 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 1
  • Minor aberrations: 5

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Panda Free VPN

Flash VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: Plex Inc.

APK file name: com.shoplex.freevpn

Installs

50,000+ total installs | 3.9 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

  • READ_PHONE_STATE
  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE

Leaks

Test fails – fake app

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

  • LocationManager;->getLastKnownLocation | Get last known location
  • TelephonyManager;->getDeviceId | Get info like IMEI, phone number or OS version
  • java/lang/Runtime;->exec | Execute system command

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

Test fails – fake app


Back to Risk Index

Super VPN Hotspot – VPN Private (Totally Free)

Flash VPN Play Store screenshot

Details

Developer: AppsHub Droid

APK file name: com.softappsdev.vpn.unlimited

Installs

50,000+ total installs | 4.2 star rating | Google Play Listing

Intrusive Permissions

None

Leaks

No leaks

Dangerous Behaviors / Functions

None found

Virus Test Positives

None

Network Test Results

  • Major abnormalities: 3
  • Minor aberrations: 8

Full network test results.


Back to Risk Index

Methodology: We identified the top 150 free VPN apps on the Google Play store and downloaded the binaries for analysis. The binaries were scanned using the VirusTotal tool, the resulting reports for each app identified the following: matches against major databases for known malware and viruses; app permissions; and dangerous functions and behavior.
Each app was also installed on an Android smartphone and a VPN connection created. This network connection was tested using the Netalyzr tool and results captured for analysis.
The same connection was used to visit browserleaks.com and perform the IP tests. These were compared against control tests conducted without a live VPN connection.
All tests were carried out and data collected between Nov – Dec 2018 and were correct at the time of publication.


Back to Risk Index | Summary Findings


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For more original privacy and security research, take a look at our Dark Web Market Price Index 2019, Free VPN Ownership Investigation, or our analysis of dark web hacking tools.