capsule review

Hotspot Shield

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Hotspot Shield

    PCWorld Rating

    Keep yourself safe at public hot spots--for free.

Note: This review addresses v1.54 of the software.

Feeling safe when you connect to a hot spot at cafe, airport, or some other public location? You shouldn't. There are plenty of potential dangers lurking there, including nearby hackers who may try to sniff your packets, or figure out other ways to snoop at what you're doing online. Particularly dangerous is if you visit any Web sites and type in your user name and password--they could be hijacked.

Freebie Hotspot Shield promises to solve the problem. It claims to encrypt all of your data and packets while you're in a public location, shielding you from any danger. The program is simplicity itself: Install it, run it, and it claims to protect you.

Bear a few things in mind about Hotspot Shield. When you install it, make sure to decline the extra toolbars. They're annoying, and Hotspot Shield works fine without it. And if you don't want your home page and search engine to be changed, uncheck those options as well.

--Preston Gralla

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Keep yourself safe at public hot spots--for free.

    Pros

    • Free
    • Encrypts Wi-Fi communications

    Cons

    • Loud advertising in your browser with free version
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