Google Play Store Introduces Security Badges for VPN Apps

In an effort to combat the recurring issue of unsafe apps in the Google Play Store, which often contain malware and spy on users, Google has announced a new initiative in its Security Blog. The tech giant introduced the Mobile App Security Assessment (MASA) process in 2022 through the App Defense Alliance (ADA), allowing developers to test their apps against international security standards. Until now, apps that underwent this assessment were not distinctly marked in the Play Store.

Enhanced Visibility for Secure Apps

To reward developers for their additional efforts in ensuring app safety and to better inform users, Google is now highlighting certified applications with a badge. This move is part of Google’s strategy to make the Android ecosystem even safer. Apps that have been independently reviewed will display the “Independent security review” badge during searches.

The Badge of Trust

Some VPN apps have already received this new badge. However, Android users are advised to remain cautious, as an independent review does not guarantee the discovery of all security vulnerabilities. There’s always a possibility that a flaw may remain undetected, potentially leading to sensitive data falling into the wrong hands. The badge simply ensures that the provider is committed to customer security. Malicious developers intent on harvesting user information would likely be exposed during the review process.

Voluntary Review Process

Currently, apps like NordVPN, Google One, and ExpressVPN have been adorned with the badge. More providers may receive this designation in the future if they undergo and pass the MASA tests. However, developers must actively request and complete this review process. Whether this certification will later be extended to other apps with less sensitive data remains unclear.


  • Google enables independent security reviews for apps.
  • Certified VPN apps now receive a security badge.
  • The “Independent security review” badge is for apps that have passed the tests.
  • Not all security flaws may be found during the review.
  • NordVPN, Google One, and ExpressVPN have already been awarded the badge.
  • Developers must initiate and undergo the review themselves.

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