Hotspot Shield is a public virtual private network (VPN) service. It simply safeguards its users’ Internet traffic from eavesdropping. Hotspot Shield was used to bypass government censorship during the Arab Spring protests in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.
It was developed by Pango formerly known as AnchorFree Inc, a company in Silicon Valley with offices in the Ukraine and Russia. The first Hotspot Shield client application was launched in April 2008 for Windows and macOS operating systems and started supporting iOS and Android in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
It has attracted positive reviews thus far by industry publications and sites. PC Magazine described it as “excellent” and hailed its status indicator, traffic encryption, connection speed at times, and payment flexibility, but blasted its ad platform, website code injection, sluggish overall response time and browser setting modifications.
Three years ago, the Center for Democracy and Technology issued an open complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. The words used were about “concerns undisclosed and unclear data sharing and traffic redirection occurring in Hotspot Shield Free VPN that should be considered unfair and deceptive trade practices under Section 5 of the FTC Act.” CDT “partnered with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University to analyze the app and the service and found ‘undisclosed data sharing practices’ with advertising networks.”
Two years ago, a security researcher also found an information disclosure bug in the application that caused the leakage of user data, like the nation the user is from, and the user’s Wi-Fi network name, if connected. See How To Disable Or Remove Ads On Hotspot Shield VPN Completely?:
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How Can I Disable Ads From Hotspot Shield?
From time to time, you will see adverts if you use the application for free. These adverts generate revenue that is needed to keep the servers running and provide free services. If you want it disabled, you will need to buy a Premium subscription to get rid of ads and to enjoy the premium features on several devices.
If you want to buy a Premium subscription, click “subscription” on the Hotspot Shield main screen. Do you have a Premium subscription already and you still see adverts, you need to confirm if you are signed in to your Premium account. If you are, sign out and sign in again.