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CM Browser - Ad Blocker , Fast Download , Privacy for Android

How can you tell if an Android app is safe?

Editors' Review

by   / July 05, 2016

CM Secure Browser (aka Cheetah Mobile Browser, aka Clean Master Browser) is the No. 1 search result for "secure browser" in the Google Play store, with millions of downloads for Android (it's also available for iOS). It claims to be the "most private and secure browser in the world." That's a bold statement, especially with open-source alternatives like Orfox available, so we took a closer look at that claim.

Pros

Well-integrated usability tweaks: Tap the three dots in the upper right of CM Secure Browser to slide open a side panel for quick access to helpful features. These include as a toggle for night mode, language translation, and forcing the website you're visiting to load its desktop version instead of the mobile version.

Smooth search engine selection: Begin a Web search by tapping the address bar, then select your search engine by tapping the icon in the upper left to see a list of other engines. The default is Yahoo, but the options include Google, Bing, YouTube, Amazon, DuckDuckGo.

Cons

The "most private" browser wants to collect your usage data and may share it by default: When you open the browser for the first time, it will prompt you to join the company's "user experience improvement program." The selection box is prechecked. If you want to know what this entails, you must scroll through the linked Terms of Use until you find the link that takes you to a separate Privacy Policy document. Most people will just click the Accept & Continue button and never read the fine print. But in this Privacy Policy, the company states that your searches, the websites you visit, and the information you share via the sharing tool will be collected if you leave that box checked.

Further down, the Privacy Policy states that it may sell, trade, or otherwise transfer personally identifiable information to "trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential." Oddly, another section of this policy document states, "We do not collect Personal Information, and we employ administrative, physical and electronic measures designed to protect your Non-Personal information from unauthorized access and use." These statements contradict each other, and one of them contradicts the product's marketing focus on privacy.

Security and privacy settings are not intuitive: In this section of the browser's settings, you'll find toggles for "fraud prevention" and "download protection," but there's no explanation for what these functions mean and not enough information to test their effectiveness in the real world.

No custom search engines: You're limited to the 10 choices in the list, and they do not include popular options like iMDB or Wikipedia.

Bottom Line

CM Secure Browser's basic functions and browsing tools are good, but we experienced a noticeable gap between the company's claims and the app's behavior. Monetizing user information is a common way for developers to make money on a free app, but it's not a method you would expect in a product that markets its privacy and security. And it's persistently difficult to characterize the browser's security functions. We know it has a toggle that offers to prevent fraud, and another that says it will protect your downloads, but we don't know what that means in a real-world scenario. If you want privacy and security in your Android browser, an open-source choice like Torfox (in conjunction with Orbot) is much safer and better documented.

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Full Specifications

General

Publisher Kingsoft Office Software
Publisher web site http://www.wps.com
Release Date November 15, 2018
Date Added November 15, 2018
Version 5.22.19.0003

Category

Category Communications
Subcategory Chat

Operating Systems

Operating Systems Android
Additional Requirements None

Download Information

File Size 1.84MB
File Name External File

Popularity

Total Downloads 24,191
Downloads Last Week 28

Pricing

License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free
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