Hot Take Brave appears to install VPN Services without user consent

CyberTech

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If you have the Brave Browser installed on your Windows devices, then you may also have Brave VPN services installed on the machine. Brave installs these services without user consent on Windows devices.

Brave Firewall + VPN is an extra service that Brave users may subscribe to for a monthly fee. Launched in mid-2022, it is a cooperation between Brave Software, maker of Brave Browser, and Guardian, the company that operates the VPN and the firewall solution. The firewall and VPN solution is available for $9.99 per month.

Brave Software is not the only browser maker that has integrated a VPN solution in its browser. Mozilla, maker of Firefox, entered into a cooperation with Mullvad and launched Mozilla VPN in 2020.

Update: Brave plans to address the issue in a future release. The VPN service will only be installed after a user purchases the VPN.

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CyberTech

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Updates

After Ghacks discovered these Brave VPNs had been installed, Brian Clifton, the company's vice president of engineering, made a post on GitHub. He stated that a future Brave browser update will "Remove the service registrations" so that these VPN services will not be installed when the browser is installed.

Furthermore, people who get a Brave browser upgrade and "who have this service installed will have the service removed." From now on, the services will only be installed when users purchase the Brave VPN subscription.
 

cofer123

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Sep 7, 2021
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Updates


Despite Brave's issues like this one, I have to give it to them that it's actually feasible to communicate with developers, unlike most other browsers.

I had a couple of bug reports addressed by actual developers, once on GitHub and then on the Brave community forums, where I could actually engage in chat with them and get the point across. One issue was fixed quickly, since it affected password extensions like Bitwarden and KeePass, while another took them several months to fix since it was low priority (white flashes when using dark themes).

This is orders of magnitude better than my experience with decade-old bugs left unfixed for Firefox, let alone even acknowledged by developers.
 

vtqhtr413

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Aug 17, 2017
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Back in October, we reported that Brave was installing VPN services for all users on Windows. Most Brave browser users do not use Brave Software's VPN service, but they still got the VPN service installed on their machines without consent or any intention of using the VPN.

Brave Software responded to the allegations. It confirmed that the VPN services were installed on user devices on Windows. These were set to manual, which meant that they would not start unless started by the user. Furthermore, the VPN services would not submit any data to Brave Software.

The company promised to change the behavior in the future. Fast forward six months and the release of Brave 1.64. The latest release of the browser does not install the VPN service anymore on Windows. Brave notes in the changelog: "Fixed Brave VPN to not install VPN services until VPN is purchased or enabled."
 

Jonny Quest

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Mar 2, 2023
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Brave VPN isn't installed here, without any action on my part.
Was it deleted, uninstalled during an update, as it doesn't show up on my end either, in Services or Autoruns (Brave/VPN).
brave updated.jpg

no brave vpn.jpg
 

oldschool

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I would not call a six-months (at least, as some report the VPN showing up as far back as August 2023) response time as quick.
No, I wouldn't either. I probably should have used another adjective or none at all. In any case, I don't see it as a big deal and they finally made things right. Look at MS and Google and tell me how they respond to criticism?
 

Morro

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Jul 8, 2012
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I guess I will remove it then, if it is gone with everyone, then it should not be a problem. :)
 
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