Privacy Concerns About Etcher – Is it Secure Enough?

What is Etcher? An image writing utility that can burn image files and ZIP files to USB drives and SD cards, right? Or is there something more in the frame? We are here to talk about it all based on our experience and the user reviews.

In 2018, some users complained in the forums that Etcher is consuming the Internet during the flash process. However the temporary solutions seem like turning off the Internet or Wifi. But the problem shouldn’t be there in the first place. Why is an image writing application consuming the internet?

To dive deeper into the application’s background processes, some IT professionals and other developers/programmers tried monitoring the process. It was noticed that Etcher was making a large number of network connections to various IP addresses (servers). Even if the user disables “Anonymously report errors and usage statistics to resin.io” option, the connections were made.

For the readers who are wondering what exactly a network connection to some server means, it is basically an exchange of data between two devices over the Internet. The main question that arises here is what exactly is Etcher transferring or receiving to your computer? Is there any chance of data stealing or is Etcher trying to access your computer files? Why is any sort of data collection required for writing image files to drives? 

Some users even shared that connections were being made to Facebook, GoSquared, Mixpanel, and Google. This poses some serious privacy concerns for the users. As per the developers, they didn’t release any official statement regarding it. A couple of people from the developer team responded by asking further questions related to the OS and the version of Etcher. But this problem was seen in multiple operating systems and the version of Etcher was the latest one.

According to a user, when he turned off “Report Usage and Errors” option, Etcher still sent some data and made network connections to different websites. The mystery is still unsolved: is it a bug of the Electron platform or an intended move by the developers or something else is going wrong with this application? The developers soon released an updated version of Etcher in which such connections were not noticed and till the date, there are a few cases reported to the developer team regarding the network connections.

Download Etcher from here.

Conclusion

The developers of Etcher have not released any information about the security or privacy concerns. However they have released updates to patch the bug. It is advised to use Etcher in an offline mode, meaning that disconnect to the Internet and then burn the images files to USB drives or SD cards. Overall, Etcher is a great image writing utility with a user-friendly interface and fast transfer speed. As for the privacy concerns raised by some users, the situation is unclear. There have been no serious allegations or proofs about data stealing and threat to the privacy of the users. So, you can use the application without worrying about your data. However, just as a precaution, disconnect your Internet while running Etcher.

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