Is Android safe from hackers? Well, depending on who you ask, you may get conflicting answers. Android developers seek to reassure you with the built-in security features, such as the app permission, that requires your confirmation before an app can access functions in your phone.
The security team at Android are doing their best to make the open-source operating system safer than ever and, because it’s an open-source platform, you get to enjoy a wider range of apps and games than its highly-restrictive competitors.
However, flexibility is a double-edged sword that invites unwanted vulnerabilities in the form of unsecured third-party applications. Software bugs are an invitation for malicious attacks from hackers that are lurking for opportunities.
Besides pinning the vulnerabilities on third parties, we, the users of Android, are occasionally to be blamed. When was the last time you installed the security updates from Android? Or did you made an online purchase over an unsecured public WiFi? These are risky behaviors that may jeopardize the security of your phone, Android or not.
Instead of hoping for the best, you should be proactive in securing your Android phone. While you shouldn’t forget installing the security updates, you’ll want to consider installing a VPN. A VPN will keep you safe from hackers who may manipulate the vulnerabilities introduced to the Android platform.
In this article, we’ll be giving you a review of our best 5 Android VPN:
Table of Contents
Why You Should Use an Android VPN
Despite the assurance given on the security of Android, it is far from being impenetrable. The Center of Security reports several known vulnerabilities that can be exploited if you’re using an Android OS build with Security Patch Levels released before June 5, 2019. So it only makes perfect sense that you apply ample protection to your Android device. An Android VPN is designed to offer security that complements the features built in the operating system.
Technically, a VPN is a secure data tunnel that encrypts information transmitted and received by your phone. It can be visualized as a network comprising of multiple secure servers located in various locations around the world. When connected to any of these VPN servers, your Android phone’s IP address will be hidden from the public. Instead, it will be masked by an IP address automatically generated by the VPN server.
The anonymity and security provided by an Android VPN is the perfect way to throw a hacker targeting your device off guard. It is impossible to identify your device’s physical presence, and even if your data is being intercepted, there’s no way to make any sense of the encrypted information.
There’s no doubt that getting an Android VPN is essential to keep you safe from hackers. However, you don’t want to be hasty when choosing a VPN. Some inferior VPNs are security risks on their own. Issues like a DNS leak on these VPNs may expose your IP address to attackers while you assume that you’re safely connected to the Internet.
Characteristics of a Good Android VPN
You don’t want to be caught by rude surprises when using an Android VPN. Also, security doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice browsing experience. When choosing a VPN, you ought to look out for these characteristics, which are signs of a good Android VPN:
Security. Always takes top priority when choosing an Android VPN. The protocol and encryption algorithm used to keep the data safe is crucial. Both OpenVPN and AES-256 are a popular combination of protocol and encryption algorithm to ensure the data tunneled is safe from attacks.
Privacy. A VPN should assure that your Android device’s IP address is hidden from the public. Issues like a DNS leak will give away your locations to hackers. Make sure that you’re using a VPN that does not suffer from such security leakages.
Connection Speed. Using a VPN introduces a layer of networks between the Android device and the Internet. However, the presence of a middle-layer doesn’t mean you have to suffer from slow connection speed. An excellent Android VPN provides decent connection speed where you won’t notice that you’re connected through a network of servers.
No-Logging Policies. When you’re using an Android VPN, you expect total privacy. Total privacy means there mustn’t be any compromise on your data, including by the VPN provider itself. A trustworthy VPN company has a clear logging policy that states what user information is collected if any.
User-Friendly. It’s all for nothing if you’re subscribed to an Android VPN that takes minutes to figure out how to connect to a secure server. Or deal with customer support that takes forever to respond. You’ll want a VPN that is built with non-technical users in mind.
With these in mind, we’ve combed the VPN providers, and here are the top ones that deserve your attention.
NordVPN is arguably the best VPN that has a solid track record of security and privacy. It is based in Panama and, therefore, the company has no legal obligation to surrender any information logged on its server.
Data tunneling through its 5000+ servers is secured with OpenVPN and AES-256 encryption standard. You can expect remarkable connection speeds when connected to NordVPN servers. The speed on the servers is above average, and you’ll have no problems streaming videos or sharing files.
While the NordVPN app is intuitively designed, you’ll have access to helpful customer support and the in-depth guides and tutorials.
- Industrial standard protocol and encryption.
- Above-average connection speed.
- Located in Panama with no data-retention legal obligation.
- Strict no-logging policy.
- Responsive customer support.
- The refund process can be inefficient.
With an independent audit that confirms its superior security, Surfshark has made its presence felt in the VPN industry. While it offers a default IKEv2/IPsec protocol, users can opt for the popular OpenVPN protocol and depend on the ever-reliable AES-256 encryption.
Surfshark boasts commendable connection speeds that make streaming videos a pleasant experience. Of course, your privacy is ensured as the VPN suffers no DNS-leak issues. Also, Surfshark has a strict no-logging policy and is based in the British Virgin Islands, effectively keeping it away from data-retention laws.
If you need to connect more than one Android device to VPN, Surfshark is one of the few VPNs that offer unlimited connections.
- Uses secure OpenVPN and AES-256.
- Strict no-logging policy.
- Based on the British Virgin Islands.
- Unlimited concurrent connections.
- High connection speeds.
- No free subscription plans.
Windscribe is a newcomer to the VPN industry, but it has made an impact on the scene. For a change, it offers unlimited concurrent connections for a single account. You’ll also be impressed by the responsive Windscribe app that can be installed and used without hassle.
Windscribe’s implementation of OpenVPN and AES-256 assures the security of your Android's device. Also, no instances of DNS leaks have been detected on the VPN.
However, the connection speed on Windscribe’s server isn’t something to be proud of, and we hope there will be a remarkable improvement in the near future.
- Strict no-logging policy.
- Industrial standard OpenVPN and AES-256.
- Dedicated server for Netflix.
- Unlimited device connections.
- No DNS leaks.
- Unimpressive connection speed.
4. Private Internet Access (PIA)
If you insist on an Android VPN that doesn’t slow down your browsing speed, you'd be impressed with Private Internet Access or PIA. It is comparatively fast compared to some of its competitors.
Such an impressive speed is backed by sturdy security, as PIA allows users to choose from AES-256 or AES-128 encryption. Anonymity is guaranteed when you’re using PIA as there are no reported cases of DNS leaks. It’s also transparent in its logging policy, and you won’t have to worry about unwarranted data storing.
But, the fact that PIA is located in the US may be uncomfortable for some as it is obliged to surrender user data when and if needed by the authorities.
- Uses AES-256 encryption for maximum security.
- No DNS leak issues.
- Reasonably fast connection speed.
- Clear no-logging policy.
- Great for torrenting.
- Based in the US.
TunnelBear is an inherently secure VPN that impresses technology experts. Besides the highly secure OpenVPN and AES-256, TunnelBear implements measures to detect any potential DNS leaking, which of course, has never occurred.
The TunnelBear Android app is also cleverly designed and easy to use. While it lacks live chat support, you can expect a speedy response from the conventional ticket system. It also has a strict no-logging policy, and that means your privacy is assured should the TunnelBear be summoned by the Canadian authority to hand over its data.
- Highly-secure VPN.
- No DNS leaks reported.
- Responsive ticket support.
- Strict no-logging policy.
- User-friendly app.
- Below average connection speed.
It’s undeniable that Android has been aggressively patching up security flaws that are exposed over time. But Android users shouldn’t assume that they are fully safe from cyberattacks just because they install the security patches promptly.
As long as you’re connected to the Internet, particularly unsecured public WiFi, you’re susceptible to being a target for malicious online hackers. To prevent being a target, installing a VPN for your Android device is a wise move.
Of course, not all Android VPNs are built equally as some may suffer from security flaws that could compromise your privacy. We’ve shown the providers you should consider when choosing an Android VPN and included our preferred VPN apps.
So, stop waiting for the security updates and start taking charge in keeping your Android phone off the hacker’s radar.