Reality Mine

I recently had someone tell me they were having some network connectivity issues with their iPad, and specifically, their VPN. I know this person very well, so “VPN” set off some alarm bells. I asked if they had set one up to connect to their home network, and the reply was “I don’t know what a VPN is.”

VPN simply stands for “Virtual Private Network”, and it’s a way to tunnel traffic through to another network. Sometimes it’s used to tunnel traffic through that network and out into the web at large. This is what really piqued my interest. It sounded to me like this person was tunneling all their traffic through a VPN provider. I asked what applications had been installed recently, and whether or not they had been alerted to the highly irregular use of a VPN to monitor their web traffic. There was a solitaire application, it checked out clean. Then there was “My Survey”. Either no alerts were thrown, or they were unrecognized by a lay person. I checked out the App Store listing and there were no disclosures.

It seems this application installed a VPN that connects to ( a company called “Reality Mine”), I wasn’t in a spot where I could sniff traffic to see what it was sending, however I have a feeling it was forwarding web traffic (or logging it all and sending it) through this connection to track all activity. Further, it was directing all of this to a company in the UK, which effectively removes any and all (albeit miniscule) protections for privacy a U.S. citizen should expect.

This app, and any app that installs a method of sniffing traffic like this is downright abhorrent. It should at the very least flash a skull and crossbones on the screen before installation, and maybe should be outright banned from the App Store. Steer clear.

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