HideMyAss VPN Review
What is HideMyAss VPN?
These days it is more important than ever to use a VPN, and if you ask most users to name a VPN one of the first they would probably recognise is HideMyAss! Besides the usual security of a good anti-malware product a VPN gives you that added protection to surf the web freely, securely, privately and with no restrictions.
A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks, like WiFi Hotspots and the Internet.
To protect your devices and your precious data, you need a virtual private network (VPN) like Hide My Ass.
"It is always important to make backups of your digital life. Photos, documents and work files". Why use a VPN?
When you type in a website address, like ebay.com you are sending a request through the internet where that particular website is hosted, and that server sends back the information you have requested and it is displayed on your screen. When you type in the request, the information that travels from your device, to the requested website and back is visible. Others can intercept your requests, or simply watch what you're browsing and (potentially) see what you're saying online. Most of the time it's a question of advertisers trying to monitor your behaviour for targeted ads, but attackers might also be lurking on the network to steal your personal information, your passwords, and who knows what else.
A VPN is designed to guard against all that. When you connect to a VPN, you're creating an encrypted tunnel between yourself and the VPN's server. Your request is relayed from the server to whatever site or service you're trying to reach, and the information travels back along the encrypted tunnel. That means that anyone lurking on your Wi-Fi network, or even your ISP, won't be able to see a thing.
Out on the internet, your IP address is hidden, since anyone watching traffic on websites will see the IP address of the VPN server. Provided the website you're accessing uses HTTPS, your data should be secure all the way along its journey.
Why use HideMyAss VPN
HMA VPN offers a huge server network with servers in well over 190+ countries. This on its own will make it one of the top choices for users looking for a VPN service, but the other thing that stands out is unlike other VPN services, HMA works on any device you like. Including internet enabled TVs and games consoles.
One downside here is that HMA only lets you connect two devices to the service, and only when those devices are connected to different servers. This is OK if you just have a laptop and a mobile device, but you could be one of those users setting up a VPN to protect not just yourself, but family members too. Other services offer up to five devices at a time.
Privacy & Logs
The company does keep logs about user activity, noting the IP address of the user, the IP address of the VPN server they connect to, and the time of connection. This information is stored for two to three months. Many other VPN services operate in countries without mandatory data retention laws, and have a strict no-logging policy. For some users, this won't matter; for others, it will be a deal breaker.
This is part of the information obtained from the HMA website:
When you use our VPN service the only data we collect from you (“VPN Data”) is as follows:
- A time stamp when you connect and disconnect to our VPN service;
- The amount data transmitted (upload and download) during your session;
- The IP address used by you to connect to our VPN; and
- The IP address of the individual VPN server used by you.
We DO NOT store details of, or monitor, the resources (including websites) you connect to or any of the data sent or received over our network, when using our VPN service.
As you can see, this is more than enough logging to get you into trouble if you do something wrong. HMA says that logs are usually kept for two to three months, but the new Investigatory Powers Act legally requires that logs are kept for at least 12 months.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) Torrenting
HideMyAss! permits the use for legal torrenting but not the downloading of copyrighted material. HMA says that if it receives a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint or similar, it will not hand over your identity. In this instance, it is plausible that you may have your account suspended if they receive repeated complaints.
Are the HMA VPNs Secure
HideMyAss! supports OpenVPN, Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) VPN protocols. On their website they say,
“OpenVPN is using OpenSSL with algorithms 3DES, AES 256, RC5, 256 bit encryption for control channel (e.g. password, authentication, etc.).”
HMA VPN uses the following settings for OpenVPN encryption:
Data channel cipher: Blowfish-128
Control channel cipher: AES-128
Hash authentication (data and control channels): HMAC SHA-1.
HideMyAss Pricing and Plans
HMA is a bit more expensive than some other VPN services, but for the price you do get a huge server network with servers in well over 190+ countries. Please also be aware that auto-renewal of subscriptions is enabled by default, and must be manually changed via the online account control panel.
Payment is via credit/debit card, PayPal, iDEAL, bank/wire transfer, UnionPay and SOFORT banking. No Bitcoin payment option is available.
HideMyAss is a well-known name in VPN services, although they do store data, for quite a lot of users this will not be a problem, especially if you are just aiming to be anonymous online, and stop tracking of your movements online.
Manufacturer: Privax Ltd
Operating System Covered: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Ease of use=8