Brave appears to install VPN Services without user consent
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.
Update: Brave plans to address the issue in a future release. The VPN service will only be installed after a user purchases the VPN.
The company notes that the VPN services are set to Manual and that they won't start unless started by the user. The services will only run when users purchase Brave VPN.
Furthermore, no data is sent to Brave from the VPN services. End
Brave Browser's installation of VPN services on Windows
A post on Privacy Guides suggests that Brave Browser installs its VPN Service without user consent and regardless of whether the VPN is used or has been used in the past.
You can verify this easily by following these steps:
- Use Windows-R to open the Run box.
- Type services.msc to open the Services manager on Windows.
- Scroll down until you come to the Brave section there.
- Check for Brave VPN Service and Brave VPN Wireguard Service.
If they exist, Brave has installed the services on your device. If you were never subscribed to Brave Firewall + VPN, the company may have done so without your consent.
The two services have no description, the startup type Manual and Manual Trigger Start.
There is no explanation why these services got installed on the system. Cautious users may set the two Services to disabled:
- Right-click on one of the services and select Properties.
- Switch the Startup type from Manual to Disabled.
- Repeat the process for the second VPN service.
Deleting the Windows services is another option. The main issue here is that there is no guarantee that a browser update won't install the Services again. You'd need to monitor the services whenever Brave Browser updates to make sure of that.
Some users who replied to the discussion on Privacy Guides said that they did not have these services installed.
Why are the VPN services installed in first place? Brave made no announcement in this regard. Maybe so that users can start using the VPN immediately on Windows and not after a restart.
In any event, you now have the tools at hand to check for the services and either disable or delete them.
Now You: do you use Brave Browser?