Developing an in-built GPS spoofing feature has been on our “crazy ideas” list for quite some time. Nevertheless, the idea became a reality in the latest Surfshark for Android update. Now all our Android users can shield their online presence from unsolicited tracking by changing not only their IP address, but also the device’s physical GPS location.
GPS spoofing is an optional feature that can be enabled in the app settings. The best thing about it is that you don’t have to use any additional third-party apps, unlike with other VPN providers.
In the official press release, our Cybersecurity advisor Naomi Hodges explains:
“Most mobile apps fetch location data from a device’s GPS to track their users for various purposes. Sometimes providing access to the device’s GPS is a condition of using the app. In many cases, users do not even know that some apps track them everywhere they go. Naturally, our location data can be exploited. For privacy-conscious people, we developed a GPS spoofing solution that can enable them to take back control of their privacy, and in this case, exercise their right to keep their physical location information only to themselves”.
Easy to change GPS location on Android
All web browsers have default access to the user’s IP address, but one can mask it by using a VPN service. However, the vast majority of mobile apps use GPS location data for user tracking instead of IP addresses. With our new solution, the physical location data might be changed by maneuvering.
If you have recently updated your Android app, in the settings, you should find an option to virtually change your actual GPS location by connecting to one of the VPN server locations.
The feature’s working principle is straightforward: when the GPS spoofing is activated, any app’s request to access the user’s physical coordinates will be overridden by the coordinates of the selected VPN server.
To illustrate this, a web service that wants to access the user’s GPS data will see that the user is, for instance, in the US instead of its real location, the UK.
“The primary purpose of the GPS spoofing functionality is to provide its user with an ability to control its digital presence and prevent unsolicited exploitation of their location data for marketing and other purposes,” adds Naomi Hodges.
GPS spoofing feature is the newest addition to our privacy protection toolkit. It includes malware, ad, and tracker blocker CleanWeb, a data breach alert system Surfshark Alert, a private and ad-free search tool Surfshark Search, and a free DNS resolver TrustDNS.