Android is one of the most used and popular mobile operating systems in the world. It is full of features. However, there are some features that might make you confused. One of them, the ‘network may be monitored’ warning is not a familiar one for all android users out there.
So what is the reason behind this warning? It is a good sign or bad? In this post we will review the message and what it means and if you need to do something about it.
Reason Behind the ‘Network may be monitored’ notification
- User installed certificate issue – More common with older versions
- Using proxy or VPN – This is a valid reason to get the warning and should be ok
- You can prevent this by NOT using a VPN ( easy enough )
- Or by removing your user-installed certificates
First of all, we will talk about the root cause of this warning. There are a number of possibilities here. So we will describe each of them separately for you.
Reason 1. User-installed Certificate Issue
The number one and the most possible root cause of this warning could be a user-installed certificate. If your phone has one or more user-installed certificates, then your phone would show this warning. Now, what is a user-installed certificate?
Normally, some of the apps you are using on your phone install these certificates in the background. Those certificates allow the apps to track your data usage and send them to those apps. That way they can monitor the encrypted network traffic on your phone.
So whenever some apps have installed such certificates, your phone will notify you about that with that warning. Google has incorporated this warning with the release of the Android KitKat (4.4) version.
If you are using an older Android version, then you will not receive this warning. Now is it bad if some apps monitor your encrypted network data?
Normally, it could actually be bad if your phone’s encrypted data is being monitored. That means some of the apps are in fact malware or virus. And those apps are collecting all the data from your phone. So this is actually a good warning which is used to save you from malware or virus.
Reason 2. Using Proxy or VPN
There are many reasons why you might need to use a VPN service or app. Nowadays, you will find thousands of free VPN apps on the Play Store. However, you might have used proxy settings instead of VPNs back in the day.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is used to bypass any network restrictions or to change the location of the user virtually. Let’s say, your country has blocked YouTube. So if you are using your internet connection as usual, you will not be able to visit YouTube.
In this case, you have to use a VPN or proxy service to bypass that block. After you are using a VPN service, you will be able to visit the blocked websites from your location.
Another use of the VPN service or proxy is to bypass geo-restriction on any websites or apps. For example, Netflix doesn’t offer all of its shows worldwide. They have different catalogs for different countries.
Let’s say you want to watch Friends on Netflix. Now, after checking Netflix, you have seen that the show is not available in your location. In this instance, you can use a VPN app to change your location virtually to a country where Friends is available from Netflix. After that, you will be able to watch Friends from your own location without any issues.
When you are using a VPN or proxy service, that particular service or app is actually monitoring and controlling your network traffic. In this case, this is not a harmful thing. Because that app is actually helping you bypass the block or restriction.
However, as it is still monitoring your network, you will receive the warning nevertheless as a safety feature from your android phone. In short, using a VPN or proxy service would also allow your phone to prompt the warning notification. In this case, you should not be alarmed because it is a safety feature.
How to Prevent the Network is monitored Notification
If you want to get rid of that warning, then this part of the post is for you. Because we will be sharing some tips to prevent that warning here.
Method 1. Remove the User-installed Certificates
The first reason behind the warning explained by us was the 3rd-party user-installed certificate. So the solution to this problem is to remove those certificates. But before you do that, you should make sure whether those apps are harmful or not.
Because some useful apps also install user-installed certificates in the background. So if you remove them, you will not be able to use that useful app to its full extent. If you identify some of those apps are actually malware or harmful, then you should remove the apps as soon as possible. You can remove the installed certificates without removing the apps.
Those apps might again install those certificates in the background. Here’s how to uninstall those certificates. For the record, we are sharing the method that will work on Samsung and One Plus android devices using Android 8.0 or newer version installed. For other brands, you might have to change a few steps here and there.
Steps to Follow (For Samsung Android Phones)
- You need to go to the Settings menu
- Then you have to tap on the Lock Screen and Security option
- From the next page, you will need to tap on the Other Security Settings option
- After that, you will have to tap on the User option
- At this point, you will see a list of all the user-installed certificates there
- To know more details about the certificates, you can click on the name of the certificates
- And if you want to remove any of them, you can do so from there
Steps to Follow (For OnePlus Android Phones)
- As usual, you need to go to the settings menu of your phone
- From there, you have to tap on the Security and lock option
- After that, you will have to tap on the ‘Encryption and credentials’ option
- Next, you need to tap on the Credentials option
- And you will find a list of all the user-installed certificates here
- If you find any of them suspicious, you can remove them
So if you have followed the steps mentioned above, you should be able to uninstall those user-installed certificates. From now on, you should not receive that warning anymore.
Still, if you see that warning, which indicates that some apps have again installed those certificates in the background. You can remove them or you can completely uninstall the app this time to get rid of the warning for good.
Method 2. Stop Using Proxy or VPN
Above, we have said that if you are using a proxy or VPN service, it might be one of the causes of that warning. So the solution is to stop using the VPN if you want to get rid of the warning. However, sometimes you actually need to use a VPN.
In that case, you can ignore the warning if the VPN service or app you are using is trustworthy. Once you have stopped using the VPN or proxy service, you will see that the warning will not appear anymore.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the ‘network monitored by 3rd party’ warning harmful?
If the warning appears because you are using a trustworthy VPN or proxy service, then it is not harmful. However, if you don’t know which app is the root cause of this warning, then you should investigate.
If you find out that some shady app has installed the user-installed certificates in the background, you should uninstall them. Or else, you can try to remove the certificates first. We have shown how to do that above in a detailed manner.
Is the ‘network monitored or modified’ warning used by malware or virus?
Not always. But sometimes, some malware can actually install the user-installed certificates in the background. However, not all the user-installed certificates are from malware or virus.
Should I remove user-installed certificates on Android?
It depends on several things. If you think that the app that has installed the user-installed certificate is harmful, then you should remove it. However, if you are using a VPN or proxy service that is trustworthy then you should not remove that.
Also if you know about an app that is not suspicious, which has installed those 3rd-party certificates, then you should not remove them.
Why does the ‘network monitored or modified’ warning appears even after removing the certificates?
Typically, if you are seeing the warning, you can get rid of it by removing the particular user-installed certificates. However in some cases, even after removing the certificates, you might still see the warning appearing in the notification area.
There could be two reasons behind this. First, it is possible that there are other user-installed certificates still on your phone. So you will have to remove them as well.
Or else, the app has installed the 3rd-party certificate that you have just removed in the background automatically. In this case, you can remove the certificate once again. However, the best solution would be to uninstall the app altogether.
Android security system is pretty good. But as it is an open-source operating system, it is also more prone to external attacks. As a result, Google has implemented different warning systems to combat those security weaknesses of the operating system.
So if you are seeing the warning about ‘3rd party network monitor’, then you should not ignore it. First and foremost, you need to find out why this is happening and what is the source of this warning. After that, you can solve it by following the bits of advice that we have shared above.