The app under discussion, Swing VPN – Fast VPN Proxy, was uncovered as a DDoS botnet by a cybersecurity researcher named “Lecromee” on June 4th, 2023.
On June 4th, 2023, cybersecurity researcher “Lecromee” uncovered alarming information about the popular VPN app, Swing VPN – Fast VPN Proxy. Developed by Limestone Software Solutions for Android and iOS platforms, Swing VPN’s Android version was found to be operating as a dangerous DDoS botnet, posing significant risks to its unsuspecting users.
Hackread.com, first reported on the issue on June 21, 2023, after Lecromee’s investigation raised serious concerns. The findings indicated that the app, which claimed to offer legitimate VPN services, was harbouring malicious intent and could carry out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
Shortly after the report was published, Hackread.com was contacted by Google on June 22, confirming the veracity of the claims. In response to the alarming discovery, Google took immediate action and swiftly removed Swing VPN’s Android app with over 5 million installs from the Google Play Store.
It is worth noting that another app from Limestone Software Solutions, called Hotspot for Swing VPN, has also been removed from the app store along with Swing VPN – Fast VPN Proxy.
A Google spokesperson emphasized the company’s commitment to user safety and security, stating,
“The app was removed from Google Play on June 22, and the developer has been banned. Users are also protected by Google Play Protect, which warns users of apps known to exhibit malicious behaviour on Android devices with Google Play Services, even when those apps come from other sources.”Google
The removal of Swing VPN – Fast VPN Proxy app from the official app store highlights the ongoing challenges faced by platforms like Google Play in combating malicious apps. Unfortunately, such occurrences are not uncommon, and Google continuously works to enhance its security measures to protect users.
However, users themselves must remain vigilant and cautious about the apps they download and grant permission to. Cybersecurity experts recommend the following best practices to stay safe:
- Research Before Download: Always research the app and its developer before downloading it. Check user reviews, ratings, and previous security incidents, if any.
- Update Regularly: Keep all apps, including VPNs, up-to-date with the latest versions and security patches to minimize vulnerabilities.
- Verify Permissions: Be cautious about granting excessive permissions to apps. Review and understand the permissions an app requests before installation.
- Use Reputable Sources: Stick to trusted app stores like Google Play and Apple’s App Store to minimize the risk of downloading malicious apps.
- Antivirus Software: Install reputable antivirus software on your device to detect and block potential threats.
As the digital landscape continues to evolve, staying informed and vigilant against cyber threats is crucial. The Swing VPN incident serves as a reminder that even seemingly legitimate apps can harbour dangerous intentions, making it essential for users to prioritize their online safety.
If you suspect any app or service is engaging in malicious behaviour, report it to the respective app store or platform immediately. By working together, users, researchers, and tech companies can create a safer digital environment for everyone.