What does this VPN prompt message "VPN app can monitor your network activity, including emails, apps and websites" mean?



  • When connected to a VPN in Android 11, the following prompt message appears

    [VPN app] can monitor your network activity, including emails, apps and websites

    What does this mean exactly? The VPN provider can see everything I do on the internet? See what messages I send on messaging apps? See which URLs I visit? Also, see which email address I send an email to?



  • When using a VPN system there are two points that can read all the data that pass the VPN tunnel:

    1. The entry point - in this case the app that establishes the VPN tunnel
    2. The exit point - if the app connects to a VPN server/endpoint on the Internet then this endpoint can see all traffic between your device and the internet.

    Both points can see all data that has not been protected e.g. by using HTTPS or a similar protected protocol. Especially the traffic used for resolving domain names to IP addresses is often still unencrypted and a small part of the HTTPS header which contains the domain name is often not encrypted as this only possible with TLS 1.3. So the VPN server and the app may know the servers you are communicating with.

    On Android there are some apps that do not connect to an VPN server on the internet, instead entry and exit point are within the app and then the traffic passed to the used mobile network or Wifi connection.




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