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Alert: Hola VPN is Putting You In Danger

Alert: Hola VPN is Putting You In Danger
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Millions of people around the globe use Hola Better Internet to connect to websites that aren’t available in their home countries. That might change, thanks to new evidence revealing a huge hole in the security of the popular service. For those who are unaware, Hola is a VPN, which people can use to temporarily change their IP addresses. So, if I were in Europe, I could use a VPN like Hola to make it appear as though I were connecting to the internet in the United States.

The problem with Hola is this: since it is a free service, the company must use a peer-to-peer system to reduce costs. This means that when you use Hola, you are essentially using someone else’s IP address and connection. For example, if you are using Hola to acquire a German IP address, you are literally being routed through an actual German person’s internet connection. This is all well and good, unless your own IP address gets used for some nefarious purpose.

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Hola cannot control what its users do, so if someone using Hola in another country acquires your IP address/connection and does something illegal, the consequences may fall on you (at least initially). For that alone, I suggest removing Hola from your browser immediately.

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Second, and perhaps even worse, Hola sells user’s bandwidth through a company named Luminati (which they own). This means that someone with malicious intent can buy and utilize the bandwidth of Hola users however they see fit, which actually did happen recently when one person launched an assault on a popular anonymous message board, disrupting its service. Having to deal with Hola’s peer-to-peer system is one thing, but having your bandwidth sold to the highest bidder is perhaps the more egregious offense, especially since Hola users have no idea what their connections will be used for.

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While it could be said that Hola is just trying to find a way to fund its “free” service, I don’t think that you should give them the benefit of the doubt. They were dishonest, doubly so given the fact that they didn’t even inform users in their FAQ about their intention to sell bandwidth until recently. For now, look for alternatives. Going with a VPN that you have to pay for is better than possibly having your internet connection commandeered by some questionable third party.

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Featured photo credit: Computer Hack/ Global Panorama via flic.kr

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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?
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Technology has taken a vantage leap in providing solutions for man. Before now, technology used to appear complex and would require a great deal of expertise to handle solutions available. Today, we have technology applicable in the simplest human activities as smart products with intelligent algorithms powering them as they make error-free judgments and provide intelligent and analytic solutions.

Does technology have all the answers?

This article from Credit Suisse, tells us that technology does not have all the answers because it has been found to exhibit “similar biases,” as humans. No one can discredit the impact of technology, but it is not totally free of human input and this is the reason we experience these biases in many areas we have technology holding foot.

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Creating technological solutions transparently

This article suggests that the process of creating technological solutions be made transparent and subject to contribution from many people who would end up as users of the product – male, female, young, old, learned, unlearned and all other preferences as we have them. It also underscores the importance of having women on product development teams. This approach is not sure to eliminate all forms of bias, but it is a good way to start in order to appraise the full benefits of technology.

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Technology as the connecting tool

Technology so far has been a major connecting tool amongst us humans. It is used and appreciated by all regardless of race, language and sex. In order to keep it less subjective to these arguments about human biases. I believe we should gather opinions on products and solutions before making them available to the public. This could be done by gathering input from intended target users and receiving feedback across the stages of production.

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“Recognizing the problem is a start…success will depend on inclusive technologies that meet this vast untapped market.” This cannot be more apt especially at a time when we look up to technology for solutions. We should not muzzle our progress with technology by battling algorithm bias. The first way to avoid this battle is by reading this article here.

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