What is Hotspot Shield and why you shouldn’t connect to free wifi hotspots
This is a sponsored post and as usual, 100% of the opinion expressed here is my own:
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but odds are pretty good that your personal information is currently being used and sold. And yes, I know what you are thinking, “Who cares if they read my email – I have nothing to hide.”
While your email might be boring, you have no idea if it’s not being used to send threats, extort money or is used in highly illegal activities. And even in 2019, people still use the same username and password to log into every website…
What can you do to protect your digital self?
Of course, installing an anti-virus and a firewall on your computer is non-negotiable. Most of the same companies will also make apps for your phone and tablets, so make sure you install those too.
But that is NOT where it all stops. That just ensures that no viruses or malware will land up on your computer. However, what about all the info you are freely sending every time you connect to the internet? We need a service that encrypts that data which is especially vulnerable when you connect to those coffee shop “FREE WiFi” systems.
What seems to be a free internet connection, could end up costing you your digital information including your username and password to any system you log into.
This is because of the Man-in-the-middle attack. This is when a hacker can get in between your computer and your internet access in various ways. All the information you send from your computer to the internet and all the information coming back from the internet pass through the nefarious system and the attacker can literally read that information.
This is where Hotspot Shield comes into play.
What is Hotspot Shield?
Hotspot Shield is both a desktop app for your computer and an app for your phone. What it does is add a layer of security so that all your data is encrypted at the start of an internet session. Therefore, if a man-in-the-middle attack happens, your info will not be readable.
Trace me if you can
So my information is not readable, but what about the location? A little known fact is that with your IP being exposed, your physical location can be traced too. Yes, some more vaguely then others, but it’s scary to see your house on a map just because of your IP address!
When you connect to the Hotspot Shield network, you are given a dynamic IP address which they assign and this constantly changes. This can also make it appear as if you are somewhere else in the world which further protects your identity.
Does it work?
I launched the app and selected to be in Vietnam. Moments later the app showed my IP address that I was assigned in Vietnam. I then opened a website called https://whatismyipaddress.com/ which is a website that shows the information is can determine just from a public IP address.
This is what it showed:
I then changed the country to the Isle of Man and then opened the same site and it indeed showed me that my IP address was now registered to the Isle of Man.
I also checked this with my Google Analytics on this blog and every time I changed the country, sure enough, the analytics would show a new connection from that country.
So does Hotspot Shield work? Yes, it does.
How to Stream when abroad?
When I do have time to chill in the hotel room on a business trip abroad, I can only watch the local TV which is not ideal and at times, not in any language that I speak. I can’t stream Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu as these are geographically locked. However, with Hotspot shield, I can set my IP address back to the USA and access my shows.
How is the speed?
You would think that by connecting to the Hotspot Shield network firs would result is a slower experience. I did not find that to be the case at all.
I could stream YouTube with no buffering, I could download large video files off my server, I could browse websites without any lag or stutter.
The networks of servers they have and their bandwidth are solid.
So in summary:
Overall what I like about Hotspot Shield is the feeling of security that my identity is being protected while I do my web thing. My info is not out there for anyone to grab.
The software is simple to use, simple to set up. It even has a setting that switches it on automatically the moment I attempt to connect to an unsecured WiFi – love that.
There is a free version and a premium version of the software. It has a 45-day money back guarantee and you can connect up to 5 devices with one account. Check out all the info right here on the Hotspot Shield website