The purpose of a permission is to protect the privacy of an Android user.
According to Android documentation for app developers, permissions fall into two groups – normal and dangerous.
- Normal permissions – Don’t pose risk to the user’s privacy and are granted automatically by the system to the app.
- Dangerous permissions – Could potentially affect user’s privacy or the device’s normal operation, the user must explicitly agree to grant those permissions.
As a VPN user, you want your VPN to not ask any kind of dangerous permissions that are not needed for the VPN app to function or which can compromise your privacy.
In this study, 81 Android VPN apps were evaluated based upon the permissions that they request.
Our goal was to find out the most commonly used permissions by the VPN apps as well as the questionable and more suspicious permissions that are either not needed for the VPN app to work or are violating the user’s privacy or security.
All of the tested apps were downloaded from the Google Play store and the permissions lists were extracted directly from the app’s .apk file. Here’s a more detailed Google spreadsheet with all the permissions from the tested Android VPN apps.