HOLA – The Free VPN Botnet


Hola VPN or virtual proxy network service with their good looking website that gives its user a sense of trust routes the internet information via various regions to mask the user’s actual location. By this means one can remove regional restrictions and tune to BBC’s iPlayer from the United States and watch East Enders. Normally, a virtual proxy network solution courses the traffic through specific servers or server machines, but Hola makes use of the unused resources of its users computer to channel data or traffic. This basically turns a “Hola PC” into a virtual proxy networking server, or at least a mini version of its network. For instance, if you are in Boston then you might help users outside the United States watch Family Guy on Hulu.

Using this system Hola saves the bandwidth costs for its non-paying users. Instead, it passes off the expenses to various other users. Paying for bandwidth is probably the premier overhead a virtual proxy networking company has to cope with. While, Other businesses keep their expenses from advertising or limiting bandwidth to its users on hourly, weekly or even monthly basis.

Image Source: Google Image – Hola virtual proxy network turns nine million users into a botnet network.

Everyone is busy nowadays, and so people do not pay attention to the fine prints, to be just, the company has always revealed in which it puts an idle computer cycle to its usage. But many users most likely notice the company promises to lift the restriction from a number of websites for free – and that is eye catching for them, it is always best to understand the terms and conditions and privacy policies of a company or service(s) before you start using one.

However, unless of course a person has a restricted bandwidth. They make use of the system for channeling traffic via it. In response to which, it directs a user to lift the restrictions on their network. The VPN company says it only does that when the PC is completely idle or not in use. And they further say that the PC needs to be running as in connected to a socket, and should have no input device(s) activity, and needs to be connected to internet (not cellular). Additionally Hola has a high-end service that is priced at $5/month that lets you use their services without being hooked into their peer to peer service.

Image Source: Google Image – Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing or networking is a distributed application architecture that partitions tasks or workloads between peers. Peers are equally privileged, equipotent participants in the application. They are said to form a peer-to-peer network of nodes.

According to Thomas Salomon from Avast who is the head of Product Development made it clear by describing that plug-ins can see everything you read or watch in the browser, they can also work as spy keyloggers and can see everything in your browser, including and not limited to email addresses and their respective passwords. Shady web browser plug-ins companies can smoothly abuse this data, and it is therefore vitally essential that people be careful when choosing which browser plug-ins to install. Furthermore, browser extensions can also control search results and slow the browser’s performance.

Here is where it gets more tricky the company also has another program called Luminati. This program is also a virtual proxy network offering bandwidth to anyone who require transferring large chunks of data across the world wide web. This service was also used to attack (botnet) on 8chan. Furthermore, experts at Vectra Research say that such software can also install scripts and malicious tools without the owner’s knowledge.

Image Source: Vectra Networks – A screenshot of the SHA256 hashes samples related to Hola virtual proxy networking services that was discovered by Vectra Networks.

Our online data is paramount – we buy things online, talk to our loved ones and search for answers over the internet. If you can place all of this information about someone, you have the complete picture, you have their identity, and this is not something you want to share with just anyone.

Virtual proxy networks and internet browser extensions, like Hola, get dangerous the minute they take advantage of the power they have, without blatantly enlightening their users of the things that they are exercising. It is for that reason vital that you are informed of what program or application you have installed or installed on your machine and what plug-ins you have set up on your browser to keep your sensitive data private.

Source: The Hacker News, Vectra

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  1. only if you don’t do anything important on that computer such as banking or logging in to important websites. you may want to take some precautions on your LAN to protect your every-day computer.


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