Category Archives: VPNs

VPNs: AVOID “Hotspot Shield” and “Hotspot Shield Elite”

OK, a piece of advice regarding VPNs: AVOID Hotspot Shield, that means every version, the “free”, “elite”, “VPN”, and “proxy” version. It’s hard enough to find concensus on which commercial VPN is best or which are safe or not, but this one has had some bad press, some damning evidence, and I’ve personally caught it injecting advertising data into my web traffic when I used it a year or so ago. I saved the proof somewhere, it’ll be published when I come across it again or take another in depth look. I observed this happening by analysing a long capture of traffic with Wireshark.

Hotspot Shield interferes with and modifies your web traffic.

Take a quick read of this, too:

Hotspot Shield was named in a research paper for “actively injecting JavaScript codes using iframes for advertising and tracking purposes” with their Android VPN app. Furthermore, analysis of Hotspot Shield VPN’s source code revealed that they “actively use more than 5 different third-party tracking libraries.” Hotspot Shield was also found to be redirecting user traffic to e-commerce domains, such as and through partner networks.

In 2017, Hotspot Shield was officially named in an FTC complaint for alleged traffic interception. In 2018, Hotspot Shield was again in the news for a security flaw that revealed user locations. The company behind Hotspot Shield is AnchorFree, which runs other free VPN services as well.


One link is to this slightly more in depth article and also this one here.