The free VPN scam just keeps getting worse.
Shady companies from around the world have realized an increasing interest in online privacy by providing malicious free VPN services that steal user data. Unfortunately, many people are in trouble because they are not aware of how dangerous these applications are.
One such example is the VPN Master. As you will see below, there are many free VPN applications that use variants of the “VPN Master” name – many of which contain malware (according to the VirusTotal test results).
Most VPN Master apps in the Google Play Store have three things in common:
- They are used by many people (in some cases, millions of downloads).
- Their evaluation is very high.
- They are full of malware.
Now I will explain the test procedures for these different “VPN Master” free VPN applications.
Test the free VPN app
Many different types of malware (malware) were found in the free VPN.
You might ask why there is malware in the free VPN?
Well, malware is just a tool to make money from VPN users maliciously. Most malware found in VPNs is used to monitor users and record their data, which can be sold to third parties for large amounts of money.
This should sound familiar, as it is the same business model used by Google, Facebook, and other companies that offer “free” products.
To test malware with a free VPN, I use an online tool called VirusTotal. Malware is usually designed to not detect or circumvent malware scanners. To solve this problem, VirusTotal uses about 60 different anti-virus tools to scan files (free VPN downloads).
I do not recommend downloading and testing free VPN malware. You can call it an adventure. This is mainly because the free VPN loads bad content that may infect your device and is not detected by most malware programs.
VPN Master free app for Android
If you search for “VPN Master” in the Android store, you will find many different free VPNs with similar names. Some of these VPN Master apps have millions of downloads and very high ratings.
But are they safe?
It’s very interesting to find all the different versions of the “VPN Master” in the Google Play store. This is definitely a growing trend – we have already introduced it in the VPN warning list.
The following is a test result of examining the four different “VPN Master” applications in the above figure.
VPN proxy host
The VPN Proxy Master is currently available as a free Android app in the Google Play Store. The full name is currently VPN Proxy Master Free Security, which you can see below, as well as application details.
Impressively, it has 10 million downloads and a 4.6 rating. This makes it the most popular of the different free Android VPN apps tested in this article.
The developer’s address is listed in the British Virgin Islands. The developer’s website URL is redirected to vpnmaster.co. (But there seems to be a connection to vpnmaster.com, which we will cover further in the VPN Master for PC section below.)
During the VirusTotal analysis, the VPN Proxy Master tested the malware positive through two different antivirus programs.
Finally, I also tested the old version of the VPN Proxy Master for the Free VPN guide, which has four positive clicks on malware.
VPN Master – Free VPN Agent
Another variation of the VPN Master app we found is called Google Master – a free VPN proxy in the Google Play Store. Again, this is a free VPN Android app available for download.
Although it doesn’t have as many downloads as the previous app, 100,000 is still a respectable number, and a 4.5 rating.
Unfortunately, the VPN Master – Free VPN Proxy has eight positive malware clicks when testing with VirusTotal . This is a huge malware existence, and based on these test results, it is clearly a serious danger to anyone who uses the application.
This free VPN has a lot of malware options.
Just because the app is on the Google Play store doesn’t mean it’s safe.
VPN Master Lite unlock agent
Here, we have another variant called VPN Master Lite Unlock proxy, provided by Angel Appz.
This free VPN has 100,000 downloads and a high rating of 4.7.
According to the Google Play store, Angel Appz is clearly based on Tamil Nadu, India.
It has two positive malware test results. Looking at the test results, VPN Master Lite appears to contain adware, which generates ads for revenue.
According to VirusTotal, this free VPN app is not secure and should be avoided.
Although it has fewer malware than other malware, any positive malware test is a very bad sign – especially for products that promise privacy and security.
VPN Master Free Unlimed Agent (sic)
Here we have another version called VPN Master Free unlimed proxy (sic). As you can see with the “unlimited” spelling mistakes, developers pay little attention to detail or are not native speakers of English – most likely.
The developer seems to be from China. The screenshot below is from the Google Play Store.
It doesn’t have that much download, but it has a 4.6 rating.
Now test the results for malware. This version of malware has more than any other freely tested VPN, with 9 positive clicks.
Based on these results from VirusTotal, we clearly see this as a dangerous and malicious free VPN application.
You see, according to their website, Free VPN Master unlimed proxy (sic) seems to be related to TalkingData , which is “China’s largest independent big data service platform.”
Update: TalkingData has this in the comments:
As you can see on our website, we are a big data company and we don’t offer VPN services. But it does provide an application data analysis service, namely TalkingData App Data Analytics. With this service, app developers can analyze how people use their apps, so I think there are some errors in this situation. I think that just application developers use our services to analyze the user behavior of their applications, and we don’t collect any privacy. Otherwise developers can’t post their apps on Google Play or the App Store.
Now let’s take a quick look at the reviews and ratings for this VPN Master app in the Google Play store:
One of the recurring themes you find on Restore Privacy is that many of the highest rated VPNs (free and paid) do not provide adequate protection. There are many large, respected tech blogs promoting dark VPN services.
VPN Master Pro
There are also different paid versions called VPN Master Pro . In this article, I didn’t bother to test any “professional” or “advanced” version of the VPN Master. That’s because I don’t want to flush my money in the toilet just to get the VPN Master APK file for testing.
The free VPN Android app is never a good idea.
Conclusion about the VPN Master Android app
All of the VPN Master Android apps I tested were found to contain malware during the VirusTotal test. Testing all of this doesn’t make sense – you can see the trend clearly.
Trusting any free product to keep you safe is often the way to solve the problem.
If you want to protect your Android and protect your privacy, I suggest you read this Android privacy guide instead of using any of these shady free VPN apps.
VPN Master iOS
Just like Android, there are many different versions of VPN Master available for iOS devices.
Below is a quick screenshot of the Apple Store showing some different variations of the “VPN Master” name.
Extracting and testing iOS apps against malware and other threats is more complicated than using Android. The number of iOS users is also less than the number of Android users. So, for the sake of simplicity and coverage of the widest audience, I mainly focus on the Android VPN Master app.
Still, I suspect that these VPN Master iOS apps have similar problems.
Once again, never trust your privacy with a free VPN app, be it Android or iOS.
VPN Master PC
The last item we want to study now is the PC Master’s VPN Master. If you look up the PC version of VPN Master, you will encounter a company that seems to be operating outside the US (vpnmaster.com). This is their website.
At first glance, this VPN looks a bit legal.
According to the About Us page, it has been around since 2008.
In order to determine how VPNMaster.com is related to the various VPN Master applications above, I started a chat session. The chat representative told me that I can download the free version of Android on the Google Play Store and provide me with a link.
The link provided by the chat representative takes me back to the VPN Master Proxy in the Google Play Store . This is the first application I tested above and confirmed the relationship between vpnmaster.com and their Android app.
For the sake of clarity, I did not test the paid version of “VPN Master” above (from vpnmaster.com). It may or may not be safe to use.
Still, given these results, I don’t recommend using any VPN Master app.
Conclusion: Avoid free VPN
Once again, we see that free VPN is a disaster in protecting your privacy and protecting your devices .
So what choice do you have?
If you are looking for a secure, secure VPN, I suggest you use the paid version – for more information, please see my best VPN advice.
If you really lack money, another option is to use the Tor network, a network of servers operated by volunteers. But pay attention to the disadvantages of using Tor:
- Very slow speed
- IP address leak (especially when used with Windows)
- Malicious Tor node
As the saying goes, if something is free, then you are the product. All the different VPN Master applications show us this again.