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We’ve gotten some inquiries about why VIPRE has been detecting Hotspot Shield (http://www.hotspotshield.com/) as adware since May 4. Some thought it might be a false positive. It isn’t.

The Hotspot Shield web site carries the below graphic that says “NO spyware / adware.”

No_spyad_icon

Well just SAYING “NO spyware / adware” doesn’t make it happen.

Here’s what the Hotspot Shield “terms of service” say (http://hotspotshield.com/terms/):

“9.1 Advertisements. AnchorFree may deliver third-party advertisements (“Advertisements”) within the content of any web page accessed. Advertisements may be injected into the top of the page, inserted directly into the page content, or even displayed to overlay the page. You hereby acknowledge and consent that AnchorFree may alter the content of any web page accessed for the purpose of displaying Advertisements. Additionally from time to time, AnchorFree may prevent any user’s access to the product or continued use thereof until such user has successfully participated in applicable advertising programs, surveys, or other activities that collect and monetize users’ personal information. AnchorFree does not endorse any information, materials, products, or services contained in or accessible through Advertisements.”
It also says: “AnchorFree allows other companies, called third-party ad servers or ad networks, to serve advertisements within the Hotspot Shield. These third-party ad servers or ad networks use technology to send, directly to your browser, the advertisements and links that appear on the Hotspot Shield. They automatically receive the virtual IP Address assigned by AnchorFree when this happens. They may also use other technologies (such as cookies, javascript, or web beacons) to measure the effectiveness of their advertisements and to personalize their advertising content.”

This from a company that claims to be “Protecting the web for your security, privacy and anonymity!”

Eric Howes, Sunbelt Software Spyware Research Manager, said on the Sunbelt Support Forum:
http://supportforums.sunbeltsoftware.com/messageview.aspx?catid=76&threadid=4649&enterthread=y

“If a company is injecting ads into the user’s browser and onto the user’s desktop and using tracking technology to “personalize” those advertisements, then it is most certainly delivering adware/spyware to users, and any disclaimers to the contrary are simply deceptive.

“That’s why we added the detection for Hotspot Shield. If you want to continue the program yourself, that’s your decision. But this detection is not a false positive.”

Tom Kelchner


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