Daily the media features people who have gotten their credit card numbers stolen on the net, or companies who have been hacked and lost sensitive information.As more applications move into the cloud, security will be more vital than ever.
HotSpot Shield from Anchor Free protects you and your network while surfing the net. The program creates a Virtual Private Network (VPN) between your network and Anchor Frees servers, which is connected to the Internet. The VPN prevents hackers and other parties to intercept data that you submit; it also ensures anonymity when surfing.
HotSpot Shield is perhaps best used in a public Wi-Fi hotspot (hence the name), where security threats often are more severe. However since the service connects to Anchor Frees server it basically means that you are trusting them, and we have no idea who they are. We are not saying that they can’t be trusted but users would do best in not trusting HotSpot Shield completely.
Also do not buy the hype that you need this product to be completely secure on a public Wi-Fi, yes it helps but virtually all online banks and PayPal already have encrypted services. So HotSpot Shield adds an extra layer of security for your e-mail and general browsing.
HotSpot Shield is free and available for Windows 2000/XP/Vista and Mac OS. There is currently no Linux version, which might be a drawback for some.
HotSpot Shield has a bandwidth cap of 3 GB per 30 days for HotSpot Shield, this means that watching video or listening to music is out of the question. But for general browsing the cap should be fine.
HotSpot Shield is slow from the get go and at certain periods it is painfully slow making it almost impossible to use. The service also gives you a US based IP-number, this means that some have used it for getting access to US-only services such as Hulu or Pandora. Hulu have however closed that hole, so if you are looking at this service simply for getting access to Hulu you are out of luck.
For power-users travelling a lot and connecting to public Wi-Fi networks on airports etc, this product is good to have installed but should be a last resort when everything else fails. There are better and faster alternatives out there. However for the occasional traveler HotSpot Shield is a neat product.