Leading VPN provider treats CIQ as spyware and prevents data from leaving the smart phone, protecting those who use their VPN service.
VPN4ALL, a VPN service that provides its subscribers with online and mobile security, privacy and anonymity, announced that it protects its mobile VPN members from Carrier IQ by treating it as spyware and blocking any information the program gathers from leaving a member’s smart phone when their VPN mobile service is active and enabled. A feature, according to VPN4ALL, not found with any other mobile VPN provider.
“Carrier IQ has been under a microscope recently,” says says Alex Tishler, VP of VPN4ALL, “and it has shown to be very difficult, if not impossible, to remove from one’s smart phone. That is why VPN4ALL treats the program as a ‘phishing attack’ and prevents information Carrier IQ collects from being sent out from the phone while our service is active and enabled.”
Carrier IQ, according to the company, is known to be installed on over 140 million smart phones and found on several different mobile platforms and carriers, including iOS, Blackberry, HTC, Sprint and ATT&T. While intending to merely capture data, such as app usage and data speeds, and send it back to carriers and manufacturers to make one’s phone better, a recent YouTube video released by Trevor Eckhart illustrated how Carrier IQ logged keystrokes, SMS messages, calling data, as well as browsing and location data – even when thought to be browsing on a secure, HTTPS, website.
Carrier IQ released a statement saying they only capture the information their clients, the carriers, request and send it to them over an encrypted channel, and it is up to the carriers how the information is used and for how long the information is stored, which is typically about 30 days according to CIQ.
Many mobile carriers and device manufacturers, however, have released statements in the last few days trying to clarify, or distance themselves from, their relationship with CIQ. U.S. Senator, Al Franken, said that Carrier IQ’s software may prompt Congress to consider new legislation and wants the company to come clean about their business practices.
“We value our users’ data and anonymity,” continues Tishler, “which is why we want them to be aware of this very simple solution to a possibly real threat to their private data. Enabling a mobile VPN service is much easier than trying to track down and remove all the bits and pieces of CIQ on one’s phone, especially for a program that was practically unknown prior to last week to the millions and millions of individuals who had it running silently in the background on their smart phones.”