There are a ton of pretty useful apps on the market today, apps that help you block ads, apps that provide VPN services on your phone, but it turns out, not all of them necessarily do as they promise, or if they do, they might also be doing other things in the background that you might not have given it permission to do.
This is what BuzzFeed News discovered during an investigation where they found several apps owned by Sensor Tower that apparently have been secretly collecting user data without the user’s knowledge. This includes apps such as Adblock Focus and Luna VPN, just to name a few.
These apps, when installed, prompts users to install a root certificate that lets the app developer access all traffic and data that passes through the phone. In response to the investigation, Sensor Tower claims that they only collect anonymized usage and analytics data, and that the data is not personally identifiable.
Both Google and Apple have since removed some of the apps, and claim that they are investigating the others. This is not the first time that such apps have been found to be harvesting user data. Previously, Facebook had been discovered to have created an app designed as a VPN client that was also found to be secretly collecting user data.