This time, SuperVPN has exposed a whopping 133 GB of data, including personal details of its unsuspecting users, such as IP addresses.
In a recent cybersecurity incident, security researcher Jeremiah Fowler discovered a significant data breach in a non-password-protected database associated with a popular free VPN service.
The exposed database contained a staggering 360,308,817 records, totalling 133 GB in size. These records included a wide range of sensitive information, including user email addresses, original IP addresses, geolocation data, and server usage records.
Additionally, the breach revealed secret keys, Unique App User ID numbers, and UUID numbers, which can be utilized to identify further useful information.
Other information found in the database encompassed phone or device models, operating systems, internet connection types, and VPN application versions. Furthermore, refund requests and paid account details were also present in the breach.
While SuperVPN claims that it does not store user logs, the leaked data shows otherwise and contradicts the company’s policy. This also goes to show that “Almost Every Major Free VPN Service is a Glorified Data Farm.”
With the increasing concerns over online privacy and security, the demand for VPN services has soared in recent years. Consequently, the market has witnessed a significant rise in the number of VPN apps available to users.
However, this surge in offerings has resulted in an alarming proportion of VPN apps that are unreliable and fail to provide the expected level of privacy and security. This results in a counterproductive user experience since a lack of adequate security protocols puts their information at risk of being leaked in a data breach.
The majority of records in the exposed database, according to VPNmentor’s report, were associated with SuperVPN, a free VPN application available on both the Apple and Google application stores.
Furthermore, researchers noted two apps named SuperVPN listed, each credited to separate developers. Qingdao Leyou Hudong Network Technology Co. was the developer behind SuperVPN for iOS, iPad, and macOS, while SuperSoft Tech developed the second app with the same name.
However, it is important to note that this is NOT the first time SuperVPN has been blamed for leaking the personal details of its unsuspecting users. In fact, as reported by Hackread.com in May 2022, SuperVPN was among the list of free VPN services that leaked details of over 21 million users. Other free VPN services to leak customer data included GeckoVPN and ChatVPN. In total, the database contained 10GB worth of data that was leaked on Telegram.
In the report published by vpnMentor, Fowler noticed that SuperVPN’s customer support emails were linked to StormVPN, Luna VPN, RocketVPN and GhostVPN. Additionally, references to each of these VPN providers were observed within the database.
Although there is no way to confirm that they’re all owned by the same company, it would not come as a surprise if that were the case. The proliferation of unreliable VPN apps can be attributed to profit-driven developers seeking to capitalize on the growing demand for privacy and security.
The VPN industry has become highly lucrative, with millions of users worldwide seeking reliable solutions to safeguard their online presence. In this climate, some developers prioritize monetary gains over user safety, focusing on quick and inexpensive development, marketing, and distribution of VPN apps.
Therefore, for a single company to produce multiple VPN applications with different names and slightly varying user experiences would not be unlikely since that would allow it to cast a wider net over the users scouring for a suitable VPN provider.
When opting for a free VPN service, it’s essential to exercise caution and consider certain red flags that indicate potential risks. These include:
- Unclear data collection and usage policies: Verify that the VPN service doesn’t log your internet activity to avoid the risk of data being sold to advertisers or third parties.
- Lack of transparency: Pay attention to the absence of an “About Us” section on the VPN provider’s official website, as this can indicate a lack of information about who handles your data.
- DNS-leak protection: Ensure that the VPN service offers DNS-leak protection to prevent your internet service provider from seeing your online activities.
- Weak encryption: Avoid VPNs that offer encryption weaker than 128-bit or 256-bit AES, as this increases the risk of your data being compromised.
- Negative reviews: Read user reviews and consult reputable review sites to gauge the experiences and concerns of other users before choosing a VPN service.
The proliferation of VPN apps presents both opportunities and challenges for users seeking privacy and security in their online activities. While the market offers a wide range of reliable VPN solutions, the rising number of unreliable apps calls for caution and informed decision-making.
By understanding the factors contributing to the excess of VPN apps, identifying the risks associated with their usage, and implementing measures to mitigate these risks, users can make more informed choices to protect their online privacy and security.