Apple removed yesterday Facebook’s VPN app called Onavo Protect from the App Store after they have discovered that the app violated the iPhone App Store guidelines on data collection.
Onavo Protect is a Facebook-owned Virtual Private Network (VPN) app that was primarily designed to help users keep tabs on their mobile data usage.
It isn’t the first time when the so-called VPN app starts a controversy; earlier this year, the social media giant offered it as a free mobile VPN app that was presented to “keep you and your data safe when you browse and share information on the web.”
However, Onavo Protect it is far from a VPN that protects your data, in fact, the app is a data collection tool for the Facebook, which helps the company to track smartphone users’ activities across multiple different applications to learn insights about how Facebook users use third-party apps.
Earlier this month, Apple officials informed Facebook that the app violated new rules outlined in June designed to limit data collection by app developers; Onavo also violated a part of its developer agreement that prevents apps from using data in ways that go beyond what is directly relevant to the app or to provide advertising.
In order to stay away from any threats like this, we recommend the install of antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac on every device that you own, depending on which OS your device is running.
If you are a company, it is also recommended to hire every year a specialized cybersecurity company that will run annual tests on your company’s network. These tests include penetration testing and ethical hacking tests;
Because WhatsApp’s is very popular among consumers, businesses, and government agencies, hackers will always keep looking for opportunities to do potential scams
WhatsApp had become one of the main communication channels, which is used for sensitive conversations ranging from confidential corporate and government information to criminal incrimination.
Apple is working hard to protect user privacy and data throughout its ecosystem. With the latest update to our guidelines, the giant made it explicitly clear that apps should not collect information about which other apps are installed on a user’s device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing and must make it clear what user data will be collected and how it will be used.
Facebook says that Onavo Protect is a free VPN tool for users to keep themselves and their data safe; the app actually does create a VPN that redirects users’ internet traffic to a private server managed by Facebook.
So if you think that Facebook can track your activities on the Web, but it can’t track what you do in other apps on your smartphone, you are wrong, especially when you are using Onavo Protect.
This Facebook’s free VPN app had already been downloaded over 33 million times across both iOS and Android devices; it is still available on the Play Store, and Facebook has no plans to remove it until and unless Google finds it violating its terms. For your own data safety, you should remove it from your device immediately.
We would continue to monitor this new scandal. Meanwhile, users should keep a keen eye out for any cyber attacks. Remember to use an antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac in every device that you own, depending on which OS your machine is running, If you are a company we recommend to hire every year a specialized cybersecurity company that will run annual tests on your company’s network, tests like this include: penetration testing and ethical hacking.