Chinese companies develop about 60 percent of the world’s free VPN (virtual private network) programs and 90 percent of them have security risks. The overseas website “Top10VPN” published a survey last week, and indicated that 77 percent of the popular VPN programs have potential risks.
According to “Top10VPN,” potentially risky VPN programs have been downloaded 210 million times from the Google App Store, while the figure at the Apple’s App Store reached 3.8 million times a month. Although “Top10VPN” has already brought up the issue to Google and Apple regarding this issue and also reported that 80 percent of the free VPN programs in the app store violate Apple’s own data sharing regulations, nevertheless, neither company seemed to care to look into the problem.
Ten years ago, the Chinese government installed a national firewall making many famous websites inaccessible in China, such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook. In order to access blocked foreign websites, many Chinese netizens try various circumvention methods, among which VPN is a stable technology.
One IT professional involved in the VPN business told the Taiwan based Central News Agency that Chinese companies’ practices of launching VPN businesses or acquiring overseas VPN operations began in 2015. After China took over the VPN companies, it has been more and more difficult for the Chinese people to circumvent the Great Firewall. Deutsche Welle also reported the worrisome fact that many VPN operators chose not to tell their customers about the information of their parent companies.
Because it is very difficult for Chinese authorities to completely block netizens from accessing overseas websites, one interviewee told Radio Free Asia, “So the Chinese government has adopted the smartest approach. If it can’t stop the users’ needs, it creates a management model that can (put people) under surveillance. This is the main reason behind the proliferation of Chinese made VPNs in major app stores.”
Source: Radio Free Asia, August 21, 2019