Will Strafach a.k.a @Chronic, former iPhone jailbreaker and security researcher, is working on a mobile firewall app called Guardian Mobile Firewall which aims to prevent apps from secretly and silently stealing a user’s private data without their knowledge.
Strafach had revealed last year that AccuWeather was silently sending the precise location of its users without their explicit permission. Similarly, he revealed a list of apps on the App Store that were secretly sending the private data of their users to data monetization firms.
To prevent this from happening, Will Strafach has worked on the Guardian Mobile Firewall app with co-founder Joshua Hill and COO Chirayu Patel. The app is basically a smart VPN that redirects all your iPhone’s or iPad’s internet activity through its encrypted servers. Unlike other secure VPN apps though, the Guardian servers will filter out all your personal data thereby preventing apps from secretly sending your data for monetization purposes. This also has the benefit of reducing on-device processing thereby improving performance.
In a nutshell, the app wants to act like a spam filter for the internet traffic from your device. It wants to prevent unintended and personal data from being stolen by apps silently for monetization purposes.
The Alerts tab in the app will provide users with information as to when and what data kind of data a specific app was blocked from accessing. To ensure the functionality of an app is not affected, the team does its own research to identify what kind of data it can block apps from accessing. It will also go through the top apps on the App Store from time to time for the best experience.
By default, Guardian Mobile firewall will first warn users when an app tries to obtain their personal data from their iPhone without their consent and give them the option to block it. In the future, the app will gain a “Lockdown mode” that will deny malicious data request access by default.
While there are plenty of other VPN apps on the App Store, the Guardian Mobile Firewall app and the team behind it are trying to separate themselves from the rest by collecting as less information about their users as possible. In fact, unlike other VPN apps, one does not need to create an account to use the app. — instead, it will simply generate a random set of VPN credentials.
“We don’t even want to say ‘you can trust us not to do anything,’ because we don’t want to be in a position that we have to be trusted,” Will Strafach said. “We really just want to run our business the old fashioned way. We want people to pay for our product and we provide them service, and we don’t want their data or send them marketing.”
You can join the Early Adopter Program of the Guardian Mobile Firewall app from their website.