Free Chinese VPN exposed billions of users’ data

Written by Techjuice Team ·  1 min read >
VPN - Leak data Techjuice

According to a Cybernews investigation, the Airplane Accelerates applications – whose Chinese version has over 3,000 ratings on the App Store alone – exposed a shocking amount of personal information from users, including user IDs, IP addresses, and domain names, and timestamps.

Because the program is accessible for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, experts think that at least tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Chinese users, may have been infected.

“This leak is noteworthy because the data might be used to de-anonymize and follow the app’s users,” said Aras Nazarovas, the Cybernews researcher who spearheaded the study. “Analysis of the Android app also reveals that it can act as spyware and has remote code execution capabilities.”

Airplane Accelerates

Researchers discovered an alarmingly high frequency of permission requests from the Android VPN software. These include viewing camera and audio recordings, changing contacts, adding external storage, and installing new software.

While antivirus applications do not identify this software as dangerous, our study raises some big red flags,” Nazarova added.

When the breach was detected, Cybernews contacted AP Network PTY Ltd, the Australia-based firm behind this free VPN service. They disclose their results due to their high public interest value because they have yet to get any answers.

This is the most recent example of the dangers of using a free VPN service to protect online data.

From being monitored by harmful adverts to having personal information exposed or, worse, having your device infected with malware or viruses, the long-term cost of data security may be higher.

Also, who owns these free services might sometimes be a source of concern. Top10VPN conducted a study on the 30 most popular applications on Google Play and discovered that 59% of these VPNs have disguised Chinese ownership.

But it’s not just about privacy. Many free VPNs also struggle to unlock various libraries on streaming sites and get better connection speeds, resulting in poor overall performance.

As Cybernews pointed out, people living under a government like China may face serious consequences if they use a VPN program that exposes their internet activity to the authorities. This is why it is recommended to constantly update your VPN list and connect to the finest providers available at the time.