To give users more peace of mind and show that it’s taking concerns about Android cybersecurity seriously, Google’s rolling out an Independent Security Review badge to highlight which Android VPN apps have gone through an independent security audit.
Last year, the App Defense Alliance, a collaboration between Google, ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium launched in 2019 to solve the Play Store’s persistent malware problem, introduced the Mobile Application Security Assessment (MASA) audit. This process enables software developers to have their apps independently validated against a global security standard as a way to signal to users that what they’re downloading on their phones has been designed to meet industry mobile security and privacy minimum best practices. The logic is that if developers go the extra mile on their end to mitigate security vulnerabilities and users can make more informed decisions prior to downloading new apps, hackers will have a harder time breaking into users’ devices, thus improving the app quality across the ecosystem as a whole if you have one of the best Android phones.
Apps that receive a badge have successfully undergone a MASA audit. To maintain the badge year over year, app developers will need to undergo another independent audit annually.
“While certification to baseline security standards does not imply that a product is free of vulnerabilities, the badge associated with these validated apps helps users see at-a-glance that a developer has prioritized security and privacy practices and committed to user safety,” Nataliya Stanetsky of the Android Security and Privacy Team said in a Google Security Blog post this week.
Now when you search for the best VPN apps in the Play Store, you should see a banner at the top that points you to the Data Safety Section to better understand what the new badge means. If you click