Is there an Android data app

The information portal for safe cell phone use

Smartphones are always online

Most smartphones are operated according to the “always on, always online” principle. This means that they are not only always on, but also constantly connected to the Internet. In doing so, they continuously transmit data. After all, they should notify users of new messages, emails and updates. In addition, app providers often request information from the mobile device or synchronize contacts and other personal data with the Google account.

A smartphone does not have the same data autonomy as a PC. The small devices are not powerful enough to carry out larger calculations on their own. This is why, for example, route planning, the interpretation of voice commands or the editing of photos for many apps are carried out in the provider's cloud.

With such apps, your smartphone itself simply sends the data to powerful servers in the large data centers of Amazon, Google or Facebook - and then picks up the results.

Make data transfer visible

The result is a constant network load - but it usually remains invisible. You can get an overview of the transferred data volume - quite cumbersome - under the menu item "Data usage" in your device. There is a list there that shows the data consumption of individual apps. In order to conserve the data volume, a transmission limit can be set, as well as an additional warning threshold, which will be notified if it is exceeded.

A so-called network monitor is recommended for more convenient control of the data exchange. The Play Store has various apps under this name, for example the Network Monitor Mini.

This app shows sent and received data in one corner of the screen. Even if you are not currently using an app, you will see that data is constantly flowing. When an app is called, the transfer usually jumps up immediately.

Good and bad data transfer

But which data traffic is necessary and which is not? If, for example, the online navigation system transmits the starting point and destination, this is necessary. If it also sends the serial number of the device, user accounts and other data, this does not necessarily have to be the case.

With the described function “data usage” or a network monitor you can see that data is being transmitted - but not which one. In addition, the data transmission cannot be prevented in individual cases.

A firewall can help. It works like a gateway to the internet. At this gate, the user can control the data traffic and decide whether it will be allowed through or not. This protection not only helps against spying on personal data. It can also block ads and improve protection against malware. At the same time, it reduces data consumption.

The advantages of a firewall app

However, a classic firewall has to intervene deeply in the system in order to control the network traffic. In contrast to computers, however, users and apps do not have full access to the Android operating system.

Such possibilities only exist with rooted telephones. When rooting, the operating system is manipulated in such a way that users actually have all rights and options for changes to the system. However, this can irreversibly destroy the device - we therefore only recommend this step for experts.

To bypass this critical step, firewall apps use a trick: Android allows data traffic to be redirected via a virtual network connection, VPN. They are usually used to establish an encrypted connection to a company or university network. A VPN app (also known as a VPN client) is usually already integrated into Android phones for this purpose.

This VPN app bundles all data traffic and normally forwards it to a VPN network. This VPN network can also be replaced or simulated by an app. Firewalls go this way.

The entire data traffic is routed from the VPN app to the firewall app, where it can be analyzed and controlled. All of this happens locally on the user's device - there are no external servers involved.

Nothing works without trust

However, this approach is not entirely unproblematic. Because users entrust their entire data transfer to an app. Therefore, you should make sure that the provider of the app is trustworthy by carefully reading the app review comments and researching reports on experiences with the firewall app on the Internet.

You can only be reasonably sure if there are no suspicions anywhere. Nevertheless, when setting up the system, the system asks whether the app should be allowed a VPN connection. From Android version 4.4 onwards, a small note appears in the notification menu: “Network may be monitored”.

Depending on the firewall app, it can now be determined which applications can access the Internet connection or which servers can be connected to.

#Firewall #Network #VPN
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