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Chinese VPNs could be harvesting user data: Report


The Chinese government has access to enormous sets of data, including emails, messenger conversations, and personal records of VPN (virtual private network) users, says a report, adding that most VPN services are owned by Chinese firms. The report compiled by Strike Source comes at a time when the number of VPN users in countries like India is reportedly growing as VPN provides a more "secure and private" internet browsing experience.

The report claims that nearly 20 per cent of the world's population are either directly or potentially prone to the Chinese government's attempts to collect private data. There are 4.57 billion internet users globally, and out of that, 37 per cent uses a VPN network.

"Upon reviewing a sample size of 30 popular VPNs, we can estimate that approximately 62 per cent of those are secretly Chinese-owned VPNs currently installed on 878,354,000 consumer user devices," Strike Source said in its report, quoting information from Tom Jackson, a cybersecurity expert.

Tom Jackson said that VPN data is rich with information, and quantum computers could easily decrypt the data traffic within a VPN network which makes a user vulnerable to attacks from different angles. If the Chinese Communist Party has access to 20 per cent of data traffic in the VPN world, they should be expected to be using that data for a massive global spying operation, which could culminate in winning wars, shifting power or aiding the rise of an empire, the expert warned.

According to reports, 129 million people in India use VPN to access the internet. How much of their data has already been compromised is unknown. In 2020, the VPN users' count in America was 29 per cent against 11 per cent in 2019.

Earlier this year, there were reports of VPN company databases breached and leaked, and the leaked data reportedly exceeds one terabyte.

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TAGS:VPN security User data 
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