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Google Play Enhances Trust with Security Audit Badges for Android VPN Apps

Google Play Enhances Trust with Security Audit Badges for Android VPN Apps

To bolster user trust and transparency, Google Play has introduced ‘independent security reviews’ badges for Android Virtual Private Network (VPN) applications. This initiative highlights the apps that have undergone an independent security audit of their software and platform. The audit is based on the Mobile App Security Assessment (MASA) standard, which was established last year by the App Defense Alliance to set concrete security requirements for mobile applications.

Key Highlights:

  • Google Play now tags VPN apps with ‘independent security reviews’ badges if they have conducted an independent security audit.
  • The audit standard is based on the Mobile App Security Assessment (MASA), focusing on various security aspects, including data storage and privacy practices, cryptography, authentication, and session management, among others.
  • Initially, VPN apps are the focus of this initiative due to their critical role in user privacy and security. The ‘Independent security review’ badge will be displayed in the Data Safety Section of the Google Play Store.
  • VPN providers, to substantiate their claims of providing secure and anonymous browsing, are required to go through third-party audits that scrutinize their source code, server configurations, and other security aspects.
  • Notable VPN vendors like NordVPN, Google One, and ExpressVPN have already embraced the MASA security audit and display the new badge on Google Play.
  • Although the program starts with VPN apps, it is anticipated to expand to other types of apps in the future, although a specific timeline has not been provided yet.

Google’s initiative is a significant stride towards fostering transparency and building user trust in the VPN apps available on the Play Store. The new badge is a testament to an app’s compliance with the stringent MASA standard, which has been independently verified, thus providing users with assurance regarding their choice of VPN app.

Among the early adopters of this initiative are reputable VPN vendors, including NordVPN, Google One, and ExpressVPN. Their compliance sets a precedent for other VPN providers to follow suit, and it’s expected that many more will join this initiative to showcase their commitment to user privacy and security.


The ‘Independent security review’ program underscores Google Play’s commitment to ensuring user safety and privacy. While it’s kicking off with VPN apps, the scope is set to broaden to other app categories, further enhancing the safety net for Android app users.

Google Play’s new ‘independent security reviews’ badges are a significant step towards ensuring that Android VPN apps adhere to high-security standards. By aligning with the MASA standard, VPN vendors can provide tangible proof of their security measures, thus fostering greater trust and transparency. The initiative, embraced by notable VPN providers, is likely to expand, further elevating the security landscape of apps available on the Play Store.