Facebook’s new app triggers mobile security concerns!

Facebook, a leader in social networking is offering a new app to its users which provides a Virtual Private Network, or VPN that masks user identity while they use various online services. Currently, the app, Onavo Protect, is being offered to some users who use public Wi-Fi networks and in future may be passed onto to all the users who intend to use online services in a secure way.

Onavo Protect, which was acquired by Facebook in 2013, is now showcasing the software in a tab of its mobile app marked “Protect”. The application will prove helpful in keeping a track of what data users do online even when they are not on Facebook.
Means, the app is crafted in such a way that it passes on all the info related to a Facebook user’s online history- a clear violation of privacy.

When a user goes to the website of the Israeli based firm Onavo and clicks on the description tab, then when he/she will learn that the company is now owned by Facebook and shares data with its parent company on a weekly roll.

Initially, Onavo Protect argued that it only keeps a track of the data being used by other applications on a device. But researchers from Kaspersky Labs have found that the app also keeps a track of the usage statistics of the applications and the websites which a user access or visits.

Note 1- As the application is only being witnessed by some iOS users; it clearly indicates that it is more of a test than a full roll out.

Note 2- It’s obvious that marketing Onavo Protect within Facebook itself will lead to a boost in users for the VPN app. But at the same time, it can trigger privacy concerns as the app accesses user private data than intended.

Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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