Free VPNs are often divisive concepts. A sizable community within the Internet thinks that they are useful just because their use involves no costs. However, the most security-savvy online “netizens” know that the implementation of free VPNs, like Hola, is not safe at all. In this article, we will take a more in-depth look.
The evolution of the Internet and online security
We live in a world of constant change. For decades, we lived a successful and happy life without the Internet. When it first came up, it was a nice bonus, an extra service that we used for specific purposes, like sending emails or maybe chatting. However, it outgrew even the wildest expectations, and it is now the single most prominent thing in our society.
However, with great, comes great responsibility. Users that connect to the World Wide Web today need to know that the environment isn’t the same as it was 30, 20, or even 15 years ago: in those days, there weren’t as many pages, but it was a somewhat safe atmosphere, with only a few known viruses as annoying and dangerous agents. Now, the scenario is entirely different.
We have to deal with our Internet Service Providers logging everything we do and selling it to third parties that may use it to make a profit off our content. We have to fend off hackers trying to steal our money by entering our banking accounts; cybercriminals performing scams, identity thefts, or phishing attacks; malware developers that range from spyware and adware to the dreaded ransomware, government censorship, geo-blocking, surveillance, and undesired online advertisers showing us ads at the worst moments.
VPN technology as a lifesaver
Fortunately, Internet users looking for a safer environment to interact with have a handy solution in the form of VPNs. The word is an abbreviation of Virtual Private Networks, and it refers to online apps or clients that provide encryption services to their customers.
Data encryption is crucial these days because it offers an additional layer of security. VPNs have servers and protocols to reroute the user’s IP address and shared online content through these servers, away from any potentially harmful agents such as hackers, crypto miners, malware developers, governmental surveillance agencies, and online advertising or e-commerce establishments.
Because VPN brands can mask the client’s IP address – which acts as its ID within the Internet environment – and traffic, they can offer enhanced privacy and the ability to browse the web in complete anonymity. As a bonus, VPNs can help users unblock international pages and streaming platforms that are unavailable due to geo-blocking measures.
Hola and the myths of free VPNs
VPN technology can be found online for free, or in paid, custom apps. The former doesn’t charge you anything, but their service is lacking when compared to the latter: they often have usage limits or bandwidth caps that, once you reach them, completely halt your experience and leave you unprotected for the rest of the month.
Keeping a VPN service is costly. There need to be continuous investments in infrastructure, server maintenance, and security features, among others. How is it possible for a free VPN to make enough money to cover for these expenses and do it in such a way that they can offer quality service?
Most free VPNs keep logs of your data without making you aware of it. To make their money, they sell it to the highest bidder that may be, in some cases, hacking groups, or even law enforcement agencies.
At first, everything sounds excellent with Hola. It is considered a “freemium” service, which means that it has both a no-cost version and a premium, paid feature. However, it has various red flags that users need to understand before even considering acquiring the client. Hola, for all intents and purposes, is not safe.
Is Hola safe? All signs point towards a NO
Not, Hola VPN is not safe. It has been caught using its Luminati offering for enterprises as a tool to sell botnet services built with users’ information. People using Hola are “exit nodes” in a P2P exchange network, so if they use it for “encryption,” their online security will be severely endangered.
A reliable, trustworthy VPN service should not keep logs of its user’s activity. The primary purpose of VPN technology is privacy! Hola maintains logs of customer’s location, URLs opened, time and moment of connection, and data concerning the operating system and device.
Some people within the cybersecurity industry claim that Hola VPN keeps personal information about their users in a database. How can you deem Hola as ‘safe’ when you don’t know if they share that information, and with whom?
TorGuard, a reliable and trustworthy VPN brand
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If you are considering Hola VPN as a safe alternative for anonymous browsing, you are making a huge mistake. Instead, try the services of TorGuard because it provides robust encryption of your online identity and shared content online at a very affordable price of $10 per month.
TorGuard has a strict no logging policy that, unlike Hola VPN, fulfills to the last consequences. Its catalog of security features is significantly broader than that of its counterpart, too: it has DNS leak protection and a kill switch, not to mention the +3,000 servers in 55 nations around the world.
In conclusion, if you find yourself lured by the fame and free status of Hola VPN, think again. Hola is not safe, and you could say the same about any free VPN provider. If you want top-end encryption and security features in your VPN brand, choose a paid one, like TorGuard, and don’t leave your online and data privacy in the wrong hands.