Hotspot Shield

Below is an excerpt from a reply to a posting at http://discussions.apple.com/ regarding HotSpot Shield uninstall problems. Hotspot Shield is a widely used freeware application for Windows and Mac that has been around for several years. It purports to create, with the click of a mouse, a “Virtual Private Network” (VPN) between your computer and Hotspot Shield’s own purportedly secure HTTPS. However, sometimes what sounds to good to be true…(Read what this guy posts below/) I used to use Hotspot Shield successfully with my Macbook, but this time have not been able to connect to their VPN (you’d do this by clicking on the Hotspot Shield desktop menu icon icon, in Mac OS found in the upper right of your desktop menu near Spotlight.

Posted by: [xxxxxx]
From: germany
Registered: Aug 12, 2008
Re: hotspot shield — uninstall problem
Posted: Aug 22, 2008 2:55 AM

“…HSS must have installed something in the system area, outside user’s home directory or browser profile; it is independent of the browser one is using. To see that this is the case I created a test user account and bang! the banner was there immediately.

HSS appearantly inspects the http stream coming into one’s box and inserts a javascript just after the tag in the page — have a look at the html code. To my mind, this is not only annoying but quite worrying. If they can do that, they can potentially do anything since one has stupidly given HSS one’s password.

Also, in my case I thought I had uninstalled HSS. It was only a month later when I went to a cafe when the banner started reappearing. It does not appear in all cafes, only a couple of them. Again this is worrying since it means it may be the case the software is actually working, it’s just that the user is not aware of it.

For these reasons I have absolutely not trust in that software. I’ll reinstall my whole system asap. Nobody seems to know how HSS works; their webpage and OS X uninstall instructions are useless: they say what one knows anyways (drag the app to trash box), but that does not help. One can’t email them; their forum is a closed one. And if you think of it, there is no reason to install for security reasons anyways. If I go to a bank or email, one should use a SSL connection anyways, in which case I don’t need a vpn.”

MB 13 Mac OS X (10.5.4)


This is some revealing information! Point is, be weary of lavish claims like those on Hotspot Shield’s web site :

  • Secure your web session, data, …personal information online…
  • Protect yourself from identity theft online.
  • Hide your IP address for your privacy online.
  • Access all content privately without censorship; bypass firewalls.
  • Protect yourself from snoopers at Wi-Fi hotspots, hotels, airports, corporate offices.

And ask yourself – if this small, easy-t0-use freeware app does the bad-ass stuff it says it does, why are they giving it away for free?

– d.g.w.

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