MVDroid: an Android malicious VPN detector using neural networks

Saeed Seraj, Siavash Khodambashi, Michalis Pavlidis, Nikolaos Polatidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The majority of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) fail when it comes to protecting our privacy. If we are using a VPN to protect our online privacy, many of the well-known VPNs are not secure to use. When examined closely, VPNs can appear to be perfect on the surface but still be a complete privacy and security disaster. Some VPNs will steal our bandwidth, infect our computers with malware, install secret tracking libraries on our devices, steal our personal data, and leave our data exposed to third parties. Generally, Android users should be cautious when installing any VPN software on their devices. As a result, it is important to identify malicious VPNs before downloading and installing them on our Android devices. This paper provides an optimised deep learning neural network for identifying fake VPNs, and VPNs infected by malware based on the permissions of the apps, as well as a novel dataset of malicious and benign Android VPNs. Experimental results indicate that our proposed classifier identifies malicious VPNs with high accuracy, while it outperforms other standard classifiers in terms of evaluation metrics such as accuracy, precision, and recall.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21555-21565
Number of pages11
JournalNeural Computing and Applications
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2023


  • Android malware detection
  • Neural networks
  • VPN
  • Virtual private network


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