How to Identify a Fake VPN App?
- June 7, 2022
- 7 minutes Read
- VPN Service
VPNs are getting more popular across the general population. But, with popularity comes many replicas or, in other words, fake. You might have heard of makeup products, clothes, shoes, or electronic devices having grade-A doubles. We warn you about what you should know and check before downloading or purchasing VPN apps.
So, the question is, how to identify a fake VPN app?
Well, that’s no rocket science. Here’s how you can easily identify a fake VPN app,
- Check the app’s reviews
- Research the app’s developer
- Review the app’s permissions
- Visit the app’s website
- Avoid free VPN apps
What is a Fake VPN?
Fake VPNs are a type of virtual private network (VPN) created by hackers to steal your personal information. A fake VPN may claim to protect your connection and keep your connection private. In reality, a fake VPN may try to gain access to your phone to find your personal information and use it for fraud.
A fake VPN is often free and can be found among legitimate VPN apps in the app stores. It may also install malware or spyware on your device, compromising your security and accessing sensitive data such as payment information, banking information, and other information from online accounts.
The Dangers of a Fake VPN Application
You might buy different products and fake versions to save money, but sometimes those are much more harmful and have long-lasting effects. Listed below are some dangers of using a fake VPN.
✓Malware & Spyware Risks
When downloading a fake VPN application or a mod version, you risk your privacy and security. Malware or spyware may be embedded in it to steal sensitive data like files, photos, banking details, etc., by hackers. To understand the depth of the threat better, you must first understand what Malware or Spyware is.
Malware, also known as “Malicious Software,” is intrusive software programmed by cybercriminals/hackers to steal someone’s data and cause harm to devices, networks, and servers. Spyware, on the other hand, is software designed to secretly monitor and collect information from a device.
Malware can take several forms like viruses, worms, Trojans, Ransomware, Adware, etc. Its primary purpose includes stealing information and gaining information about the device, such as IP address, browsing history, and installed application data.
It can turn your device into a botnet for further cyberattacks or take control of your device or network. Spyware primarily operates in the background, undetected by antivirus software. It can secretly store your every keystroke, web browsing history, banking, or login credentials. It automatically sends the collected data to the attacker.
Malware and Spyware can get into your device through malicious downloads, unauthorized file sharing, infected email attachments, or due to security vulnerabilities.
✓Privacy and Security Risks
Fake or free VPN apps can be extremely dangerous because they pose huge security and privacy risks. When you connect to the VPN server, every connection passes through that VPN server. Thus, the hacker can track what you do with their VPN.
It can secretly control your webcam, log your browsing history, track what you’re typing, and remotely control your device when you’re not around. Scary right? That’s why we never recommend using a free VPN that gives you unlimited data.
Any VPN provider (except Proton VPN) cannot offer a free, unlimited service without a subscription due to the significant costs involved with server management, infrastructure management, and employee costs.
In other words, the VPN that provides unlimited access without charging you a dime will simply sell your data to advertisers to make money. You may also be forced to view advertisements in some VPN applications to access certain servers.
✓Botnets & Adware Risks
A fake VPN app may have ransomware or an adware program, which can risk your privacy and security. Ransomware usually locks down your devices and all the data unless you pay some insane amount of money to the hackers. Hackers will entirely format your drives if you don’t pay the ransom.
So, you understand what it means if you have sensitive files and data on your computer. On the other hand, Adware pushes spammy adult gambling ads to your devices. The hackers usually generate revenue from those ads, which can be embarrassing.
For instance, ads can pop up out of nowhere when you’re showing something to colleagues or kids. Adult ads can embarrass you in front of your family or co-workers. The most annoying part is you won’t be able to find the adware easily.
✓Bandwidth Stealing Risks
A fake VPN has been known to construct a botnet using your connected devices. This botnet is a collection of Internet-connected devices infected and controlled by a third party without the owners’ knowledge. Your Internet bandwidth can be sold as a dedicated server for funneling Internet traffic once you’ve joined the botnet.
The acronym Bot-net stands for “botnet” or “robotic network.” In a botnet, infected computers work together to distribute malware managed by cybercriminals. In a matter of minutes, your bandwidth is stolen, and there is no way to recover it.
What are the Characteristics of a Fake VPN?
There are some ways to identify whether your VPN is rigged or not. These are
✓No dedicated mobile app: If your VPN is legit, it will have a mobile application accessible on both the App Store and Play Store. If there are no mobile apps, you might want to consider your decision and get a good VPN as soon as possible.
✓No dedicated live customer service: Most fake VPNs do not have any live chat available for their clients to contact them. If you cannot reach out, you cannot clarify your issues. Hence, you will know it’s not a legitimate VPN.
✓No social media profile: Legitimate VPNs always have a page or group on multiple social media platforms to ensure their customers are aware of their services. But if the VPN is fake, they would not bother to go through such a hassle.
✓No user reviews and testimonials: Fake VPNs don’t have any legit reviews by real people; they usually use fake or paid reviews. Also, popular and trusted VPNs are backed by Tech Radar, Toms Guide, PC Mag, etc.
The steps above can keep you safe from fraud and fake VPNs everywhere if you follow them carefully. Also, build a habit of safe browsing and being skeptical of unauthorized files, unknown spammy links, and untrusted applications.
Which VPN to avoid?
Avoid free VPNs like Hola VPN, Super VPN, Proxy VPN, Hoxx VPN, etc. Several reports revealed that they keep browsing logs and sell user data to the advertiser. Always try using a paid VPN with no log policy and end-to-end encryption.
What is the safest VPN location?
Panama and Switzerland are two of the best VPN countries for privacy. Both countries are well-known for their privacy-friendly laws that favor individuals and require consent whenever personal data is involved. So, try to use VPNs from the provider based on these countries.
Can a VPN see my location?
If the VPN provider keeps logs, then yes. Some privacy-friendly VPNs like Symlex VPN offer a strict no-logging policy, which means we don’t record your online activities. You’re completely invisible to us; our staff cannot see your data.
Hope you now have an idea of how to identify a fake VPN application. Remember the above considerations while downloading an application and browsing the web. Always use a reputed VPN service trusted by most users and security experts. In the meantime, Symlex VPN offers rock-solid security for a low price. Try all the premium features for 5 days without paying anything. (No credit card required)