Android is a great OS. It has helped bring smart phones to the masses, and being essentially open means that developers of all sorts can make and run apps. It is recommended to download and install all apps via the Google Play Store. However, as was very evident a few days ago when Prisma finally released an app on Android that it is very easy to put up dodgy apps on the Play Store. In fact, Android also allows you to download and install apps that bypass the need for the Play Store altogether. Another element present on Android is the fact that not all manufacturers send security updates to their phones. This means that your phone is vulnerable to all kinds of attacks, be they malware, virus, or just simple breach of privacy. In fact, these days we carry more sensitive information in our pockets than we have ever before.
Needless to say, it is pretty important to have some kind of an extra layer of security added to your Android phone. Many solutions exist on the market, but they often come with annoying adware, confusing subscription models, and scarily, a lot of them are actual malwares in disguise. This is where F-Secure’s Freedome VPN app comes in. It gives you pretty much everything the Windows app offers, and adds just a tiny bit more. It comes with the following features:
- Digital Privacy: F-Secure is already a brand well known for the security and privacy it offers. The Freedome VPN app promises to protect you from hackers, trackers and anyone after your digital privacy.
- WiFi Security: It is a well known fact that most public or highly shared WiFi connections are full of spies and hackers. The app encrypts your data to allow you to keep your connection safe and secure.
- Geographical Freedom: That video or website is blocked in your region? Freedome allows you to choose your location.
- App Security: This is one feature you hardly get in any VPN software, and this is what the app offers on top of the Windows offering. A free virus scanner checks all your apps, and notifies if an app is harmful, contains viruses, spyware or malware. On top of all this, it is easy on your battery and processor.
- Anonymity: No registration or login is required.
- Simple UI: A simple UI means everything is wrapped in a single button interface
- Unlimited bandwidth: No restrictions on data usage
- Trustworthy: F-Secure brings over 25 years of experience to you through the app
Installation and setup
The app is easy to install. You just head to Google Play Store via the link below, or just search for ‘F-Secure Freedome VPN’ app. While a few lookalikes exist (hence proving our point earlier), the real app is made by F-Secure Corporation and comes with the classic Freedome logo.
Once you have found it, you can simply install it.
On the first run, it gives you a little tutorial to show what is on offer. As already mentioned, no need to sign up or login is required.
You are offered 14 days of free trial, and you can go to settings to change that if needed.
The interface is as simple as it gets. A single button lets you turn the protection on or off.
Drag your thumb up from the button and you get access to choose the kind of protection you want. Drag your thumb below, and you get access to some of the stats. If you’re a numbers person, this one is for you.
It is also rather interesting to see that your traffic is almost constantly being observed. We had megabytes of data protected minutes after installing this.
The favourite feature for us is the Tracker mapper, which can be found in the ‘Tracking Attempts’ section. Just go in and enable the Tracker Mapper, which normally runs for a period of 24 hours. During this time, it will record and give you a report of every website that is trying to ‘track’ you. In case you’re wondering what this is, let us give you a brief explanation. Have you ever looked at something on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com, and then found an advert for the very same thing pop up in Facebook? Tracking is how that data is collected and then passed on to various websites to aim advertisement at you. While pushed as seemingly harmless, it can be annoying and is definitely a breach of your privacy.
App scanner is rather useful too, and I was happy to note that none of my apps were dangerous. As soon as an update comes through, it does another check, so rest assured that no sneaky update will give you any issues.
When enabled, you also see a little key icon in the top status bar to let you know that it is working.
And last, but not the least, if you want to change your ‘online location’, just hit the Location button at the bottom and choose what you like. You have options from Europe, the Americas, Asia as well as Australia.
While the VPN and app service works rather well, some limitations exist in the app. Namely, your ISP may have disabled VPN connections. For some, it is a simple option of going into your account and changing a setting, or just logging into your router and doing the same. In other cases, if you’re using a hotspot, you are at the mercy of the system admin. If they have disabled VPN connections, you just won’t be able to connect.
A limitation of a very different kind comes from service providers once again. While services like Netflix allowed you to shift your location and enjoy content not allowed in your country, they have found a way to block VPN services from doing so. As such, if this was the main reason for you to install a VPN, this is probably not the app for you.
While the uses would be fairly obvious to most by now, here are some of the ways we found the app useful:
- Ease of mind while connecting to public Wifi hotspots
- Keeping tracking attempts at bay
- App scanning making sure that nothing dodgy is installed on the device
- Using geolocation to log into websites from different locations. This is particularly useful if you’re trying to access news. Also, if you happen to be in a location where certain services may be banned, the use of VPN and a different location bypasses this. While I haven’t had the chance to travel to China to report this, I can tell you that my ISP blocks certain websites and I was able to bypass it using this.
You can find out more about Freedome VPN on F-Secure’s website. You can also download the Freedome app from the Play Store, which offers you a free 14 day trial. It is offered on a subscription model, which allows you to buy a year’s subscription for up to 3 devices for £39.99, 5 devices for £49.99 and 7 devices for £57.99. In case you just want to secure your Android device, you can pay the following costs:
Freedome is free for 14 days. After that, pick your subscription:
1 day, fixed term: £0.50
1 month, fixed term: £2.99
1 month, auto-renewing: £2.29
12 months, auto-renewing: £22.99
You cannot put a price on your safety, and the F-Secure Freedome VPN gives you exactly that, in a neat and simple package. Pretty much a no-brainer.