Hotspot Shield

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Hotspot Shield
IndustrySoftware solutions
Founded2005
HeadquartersSilicon Valley, California
Key peopleCo-founders David Gorodyansky and Eugene Malobrodsky
ProductsInternet security and privacy, VPN applications
ParentAnchorFree
WebsiteHotspot Shield
 
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Hotspot Shield
IndustrySoftware solutions
Founded2005
HeadquartersSilicon Valley, California
Key peopleCo-founders David Gorodyansky and Eugene Malobrodsky
ProductsInternet security and privacy, VPN applications
ParentAnchorFree
WebsiteHotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield is a software application developed by AnchorFree, Inc. that allows users to surf the Internet privately by creating a virtual private network so the user can gain secure access to all internet content, while staying in control over their personal privacy.[1][2] The program is also used for cloud malware protection especially by travelers and expats that want to save data or access their home content while roaming abroad.[1] It is used by business travelers and students to protect their online activities in Wi-Fi hotspots.[1] It is also used by people in regions that are subject to Internet censorship, giving users access to the world’s information.[3] Hotspot Shield was used to bypass government censorship during the Arab Spring protests in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, and was featured on The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN.[4][5]

Overview[edit]

Hotspot Shield was developed by AnchorFree, a company in Silicon Valley.[1][6] The software was released in April 2008 for Windows and Mac operating systems, and was expanded to include support for iOS and Android in 2011 and 2012, respectively.[7]

Hotspot Shield establishes a virtual private network connection (VPN) between a device and a web server. This makes the user anonymous and secures data being transferred to and from the computer or mobile device. The software also protects information from being accessed or tracked by third parties.[4] It has free and paid versions, with the paid version protecting users from malware, phishing, and spam, and providing a choice of accessing content from different countries.

Utilities and tools[edit]

Hotspot Shield uses VPN technology to encrypt data sent through a network.[2] The software increases privacy and security while browsing the web through a proxy connection to AnchorFree’s servers, located around the world, to let users access websites that might be blocked locally or regionally.[3] This way, people using Hotspot Shield in countries with Internet censorship can still visit international sites that are blocked.[3] The software also offers access to all internet content without any restrictions, privacy and identity protection, wi-fi security at public hotspots, malware protection, and data compression for mobile users.

Reception[edit]

In many regions with internet censorship, using Hotspot Shield has allowed users to access Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype, among other sites, which assisted them in organizing protests as well as reaching out to international media.[8][5]

During the Arab Spring protests in 2010, protesters used Hotspot Shield to access social networking tools to communicate and upload videos.[5][9] Hotspot Shield was also widely used during the Egyptian protests and revolution in 2011, when the Mubarak regime cracked down heavily on access to social media sites.[10] During this time, users of the software in Egypt increased from 100,000 to over 1,000,000 overnight.[11]

In 2013, downloads of Hotspot Shield in Turkey increased from around 10,000 per day to nearly 100,000 per day, in response to the suspected efforts of the Turkish government to censor social media and citizen access to international websites.[12][13] The number of downloads of the software to mobile phones also increased significantly.[14][15]

In 2012, Hotspot Shield usage increased among Mac users in the United States and Europe, as 500,000 Mac users were infected by the Flashback virus.[16] Hotspot Shield was used as a solution to prevent cloud side viruses and threats.[16]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Hotspot Shield (and AnchorFree) has won several awards, including:

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Company Overview of AnchorFree, Inc.". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Empson, Rip. "With Its Hotspot Shield Hitting 60M Downloads, AnchorFree Lands A Whopping $52M From Goldman Sachs". TechCrunch. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Colao, J.J. "How To Thwart Hackers And Dictators With One Free Download". Forbes. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Levin, Dan (16 January 2010). "Software Makers See a Market in Censorship". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Greene, Rachel. "Arab Spring and Emerging Technology". CNN iReport. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "About AnchorFree". AnchorFree. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "News & Events". AnchorFree. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Hotspot Shield Free VPN Experiences 1000% Growth Surge in the Wake of Recent Turkish Unrest". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Messieh, Nancy. "Hotspot Shield: A quiet hero for Internet privacy and security around the world". TNW. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  10. ^ Koehn, Josh. "AnchorFree Opens Doors to Revolution". SanJose.com. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "Popular Privacy and Anti-Censorship Tool Sees Surge in Traffic as Egyptians Struggle to Stay Connected Online". Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  12. ^ Ballim, Evren; Sandle, Paul (6 June 2013). "Turks skip suspected censorship with Internet lifelines". Reuters. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  13. ^ Acohido, Byron (5 June 2013). "Turkey citizens use VPN to air grievances". USA Today. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "Turkey sees spike in software to fight restrictions". Financial Times. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  15. ^ "Encrypted Connections Shield Turkish Protesters from Government Scrutiny". Reason.com. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "Mac virus a ‘wake-up call’, says CEO". CNME. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  17. ^ Thornton, James. "The http://www.snopes.com/medical/myths/heartattacksandwater.asp apps of Mobile World Congress 2013". Softonic. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  18. ^ Bort, Julie. "The 15 Most Important Security Startups of 2013". Business Insider. Retrieved 25 June 2013.