Reminder: Don't Use Hola To Beat Data Retention And Site Blocking

Hola was once regarded as a great way to get access to things like Netflix's US catalogue or Hulu Plus. You might think about using it to get around site blocking restrictions and hide yourself from the Government's data retention scheme. That's a bad idea.

Here's why you shouldn't use Hola. Like, ever.

Recently it was revealed that Hola actually uses your IP as an end-point for other people's traffic. Unfortunately, you have no idea what your IP address is being used for by people on the other end.

Someone proved this by using Hola end-points to perform a DDoS attack on 8Chan, so it's less than a theoretical flaw and more of a practical risk to using the software.

What's worse is that if the person on the other end uses your end-point address to traffic in nasty stuff like child porn or drugs online, the police would only ever see your IP address.

It's a similar problem that TOR exit nodes run into, and it sucks.

It's simple to protect yourself: don't use Hola.

Now Read This: Best VPN Providers: What Australians Need To Know


Comments

    If you do have Hola, or have used it, then I recommend heading to http://adios-hola.org/
    It runs a few tests to see if you're vulnerable and has all available information about the issue

      Thanks Giz for the heads up and thanks @ghostactual for the link. I've been an enthusiastic user of Hola, but I had no idea this was happening. Just got rid of it.

    I guess the Hola extension could also be held accountable if someone were to download Dallas buyers club with my IP? ;)

      Heh.. That thing was on the TV last week, so now everybody gets it for free! Idiots!

    Is there a service similar to Hola that does the same thing? I'm not interested in routing all my traffic, like a VPN. Just want to trick Netflix into letting me see other country's content.

      DNS redirectors like unblock-us will do the job for netflix and don't require a browser extension at all.

        I should have clarified, I was hoping for something which was free. I know, if you want something to do the job properly then you're going to have to pay for it. I was just hoping there was something out there I could try before actually paying for it.

          Unblock-us gives you a free week's trial. Its only $5 per month after that if you want to continue the service. Hopefully a week is enough for you to check out if it does what you want.

          Well unblock-us is pretty cheap and does IIRC have a free trial, but yeah. I don't know of anything out there that works well and is free.

          getflix.com.au.
          Not free, but good service and only $33USD/yr.

            I use Getflix and it's awesome. I set it at my router level for netflix. They have an app that I can use to instantly change the region I am in at any time - from about 20 different countries.
            Last night I watched something from Australia, 1 minute later I was browsing US netflix.

          And Getflix.com.au now include a full VPN service with their subscription at no extra cost.

          If you really want to be cheap about it Unblock Us' free week is easy to keep gaming, I did it for a few weeks before deciding it was a service worth paying for.

          You can work out how to do it yourself (hint: throwing any valid email address in will work, having your own domain that routes all possible mailboxes to one address also helps, but costs, so....yeah.)

          The best deal I could find for UnblockUs at the moment is this one here posted on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/vpncoupons/comments/3ay47n/unblockus_promotion_first_month_for_99_cents/
          It's 99 cents for the 1st month instead of the usual $5

      I have been using getflix since signing up to netflix and love it. It's a smart DNS that only reroutes netflix traffic (and a few other sites). You can change between any netflix region within seconds.

    No the extension would not be held accountable. The point is that YOU would be held accountable if someone else used your IP to download the movie. So maybe expect a letter in the mail soon.

    Well this would be a good excuse if you get caught for something.

      Indeed this could provide plausible denidability provided no evidence could be forensically extracted from your computing device. s

        Which it probably wouldn't - I doubt the studio would pay to mine the data from your drive, though the court might force you to do yourself to prove your innocence. Unless you've formatted your drive a bajillion times.

      Depends what you're planning to use the excuse for. Although untested (as far as I'm aware), I suspect that Australian courts are going to hold the account holder responsible for any copyright infringement from an IP address connected with that account. The only exception I foresee may be if said account holder signs a statutory declaration pointing the finger at someone else.

        Someone needs to file a suit against Hola and then the rest can argue we are waiting for the decision of that suit :P

        On a serious note, if you actually are innocent, the law must have a way of reprieve under the circumstances. How many people would be aware technically how all this works; until VPNs are legal, there is strong grounds for end users to argue their lack of understanding about what happens at the other end of their online communication.

    Well shit. I just started using Hola since HotSpot Shield was being shitty with Netflix for me. Guess i'll have to look into something else :/

      When I finally uninstalled Hotspot Shield I felt like I'd removed an insidious parasite. Hola looked disarmingly innocent until now. Guess I will stick with a proper VPN.

        Yeah. Not wrong. All I want to do is browse foreign Netflix with ease :P

    I always wondered how Hola could do all of this for free without any sort of advertising or any other obvious revenue stream. Seems they're selling our bandwidth, makes sense. Deleted.

    Only use I had for it was watching Comedy Central clips.

    I removed Hola after the last warning article came out about it. I've checked and its no longer listed as an extension, but I can still access US Netflix. Although I think John Oliver's youtube channel is blocked again... Has anyone else come across this?

      Possible workaround to John Oliver is to watch the videos on the Last Week Tonight's facebook page, he was the main reason I'd use Hola, time to remove it I guess

    I'm pretty sure this is only the free version, if you pay the minimal fee for the paid verison the T & C states you will not traffic share. worth noting :)

    @lukeHopewell Is there any indication that it isn't a problem if the Hola extension is either OFF or NOT ENABLED. Is there any data on that?

    and yes, if there were no geo-blocking and I could watch Jon Stewart and John Oliver without it I'd not need it.

      Late reply: My antivirus started warning me recently that when attempting to access my bank I was being handed a certificate issued for ds.serving-sys.com. Eventually I tracked the problem to the Hola plugin I installed - then disabled - a year or two ago.

      Manually removing Hola (by deleting its Firefox directory) stopped the warning.

      Really, Hola is bad news. Don't just disable it - terminate it with prejudice. Otherwise you have no way of knowing where your secure (sic) traffic is going.

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