How fast is my internet? Speed checkers for laptops and cell phones should provide answers. But caution is requiredThe live stream is jerky, the website is only building at a snail’s pace? Users can quickly check the available data rate using the speed checker. However, experts have found that not every app is trustworthy.
The speed of your own home network can be measured quickly using so-called speed meters or speed checkers. These work best as apps on smartphones or tablets, and many of them are even available free of charge in the Google Play Store. Experts warn, however, that anyone who only pays attention to good user reviews is taking a risk with their data. The “Mobilsicherheit.de” portal looked at 14 Speed-Messer apps for Android and found that, despite good reviews, many perform poorly in terms of privacy and security.
This is how the apps work
The smartphone or tablet connects to a measurement server, a certain amount of data is then sent from the device to the server and back again. It measures how long the transfer of the data volume takes, thereby calculating the upload and download rate.
Many speed meter apps collect data unnecessarily
Of the 14 tested Speed-Messer apps, “Mobilsicherheit.de” classifies 12 as problematic, as they collect unnecessary data for functionality and sometimes pass it on to third parties. According to the test result , 6 apps recorded, for example, the identification number of the WLAN network to which the device used is connected, the so-called BSSID. The experts generally rate apps that record the BSSID as very critical, since providers could use them to determine the location without authorization or set up databases for this purpose.
According to the testers, some apps also saved the IMSI identifier, a combination of numbers that belongs to the SIM card inserted in the device. This can also be used to determine the location of devices, and cell phone providers can assign the number to people.
A speed meter app even registered the device’s IMEI. Every device sold worldwide has a unique 15-digit identifier. Both the IMEI and the IMSI classify the experts as sensitive data, as they can clearly be traced back to a device and only change when the device or SIM card is changed.
Unencrypted internet connection
The testers are also critical of the fact that an unencrypted Internet connection was established with some Speed-Messer apps. Attackers can use them, for example, to smuggle messages onto the device that request the owner to download a file or provide login data. Since the messages seem to come from the app, they seem more trustworthy, according to the testers.
Two apps also came off well in the test: LibreSpeed is a simple speed meter without additional functions, free of charge, ad-free, open source and available in the F-Droid store . The Federal Network Agency’s speed knife also scored points in the test, even if it tends to crash suddenly. Even though it asks for the location, the measurement works without it, according to the testers.
Conclusion: speed knife in the check
Despite a large selection of Speed-Messer apps for Android, there are only a few recommended products according to “Mobildsicherheit”. In addition, privacy is not a criterion for ratings in the Play Store.