Question

How to get Hotspot Shield free VPN

I am looking for a reasonably good free VPN. Articles say that "Hotspot Shield" free edition is pretty good.
I download the free version, install it, and it won't go past the first screen at startup without my providing credit card information which it implies will be used after a 7 day trial of their "Premium" VPN service.
Is there a way around this?

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Comments
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Answer
Re: Free

I think you downloaded the wrong version. Did you look at all links at the bottom of their home page?

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No, I'm certain I downloaded what they call, "free" version

I clicked the blue link on their page (for free version). I would even place a screenshot here but when I click "Insert Image" here, it wants a URL, not a file location.
This site is probably run by the same person that offers the free Hotspot Shield.
Duh, there is already an upload "Link" for URL's, "Insert Image" should not ask for a URL. Perhaps the moderator could/would explain?

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Answer
Some FREE versions are like that.

They demo in the full version mode and degrade to the free version later. Malwarebytes did that for a time, maybe still does. So in some cases there is no free version offered. Until you figure it out.

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I thought that might be the case.Bad business practice if so

I would be OK with that if they didn't want my credit card information up front.
It could get nasty if they just started charging me without my authorization. It would be difficult for me to say I didn't want the product but I gave them my credit card information.
Has anyone installed this product, given the credit info and was able to run it for free without manually intervening and stopping them from simply taking payments automatically?

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I know I didn't.

Since all I wanted was this for the browser I went with Opera and its VPN.
https://blogs.opera.com/mobile/2019/03/opera-for-android-51-vpn/

There are at least a dozen VPNs for Android now. It seems Hotspot Shield is not viable plus they are not answering your questions. Some expect me to be their support and to that I'll answer nope.

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I read about Opera but I need the VPN for nodes too

Thanks, but I need the VPN for more than just browsing.
I'm not even trying to fake out streaming services etc. I'm trying to protect security cameras and the node they report to over my LAN but are accessible from the Internet.

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So it's worth paying for.

I also find it strange that security cameras would be insecure.

Something's hinky about that!

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I agree - you'd think security cameras would be secure

When buying the security cameras the IP Camera site (forum) says that I should be running a VPN or bot's would eventually take over my cameras.

I don't know how but I figured I better try to figure out how to put them behind a VPN as well as the firewall that I already have in place.

While working on these cameras I also found out that setting your SSID's to hidden does not hide them from software that sees hidden SSID's. So what good is turning off your SSID broadcast?

Seems like the bad guys have a way around everything for crying out loud!

Too many back doors in this stuff.

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Hiding the SSID never worked.

It's a mystery why that advice ever saw the light of day or dark of night.

As to the VPN and bot takeover I'm at a bit of a loss why a VPN would help as many of these security cameras have to connect to some cloud server which means the VPN just pops up on the Internet somewhere and well, VPN is just GEO-RELOCATION in that case and NOT SECURITY!

About all the VPN does in 99% of VPNs I know of is hide your activity from the ISP and a few others. NOT A SECURITY ITEM.

Now if you did have your own DVR on a server then you would be pulling out all your remaining hair and dollars trying to set that up.

-> Put up your cameras, DO NOT USE the default passwords and it should be fine.

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I thought VPN used additional encryption via private tunnel

I think there is another layer of security.
I may be wrong but doesn't VPN employ a transmit encryption and secure connection called a tunnel to advance security between two nodes attached to the Internet?
Isn't that why corporations and governments use it?

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It does that but

At some point the usual VPN pops up on the Internet and is just HTTPS or whatever protocol the final leg of the journey takes. At that endpoint it is still open to the same hack you were trying to close.

What VPN did offer a secure channel from where the VPN started and to where it ended. Since you have yet to secure the other end with the server or services the security camera uses, then the security only helped in that the ISP can't see what you are doing.

And again, since the camera's link to your phone, services on the web are not fully VPN'd you created a system that is not as secure as it seems.

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So, you're saying, don't bother with VPN for my cameras!

So, I should just get a fast multi stream router like the Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Model: RAX80 and not worry about a VPN tunnel?

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If the VPN is complete, why not?

But if you are using a VPN service then you are left with only what the VPN does, (again) hides what you are doing from your entry point to the exit point which is good enough to shield activity from the ISP and maybe but unlikely our governments.

It's also great to shield your traffic when using free WiFi but the security is limited to only the VPN tunnel. Once out of the tunnel the security it offered is removed and you have to consider where it is exposed.

Let's roll back around to what security is required. For most it's to stop folk from changing the camera settings or watching the feed. Changing the camera's admin password is a great start there.

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The admin passwords are changed and plenty complicated too

No, I have not implemented a VPN yet because that is what my question here is about.
I need to invest in a router upgrade. So, while I'm looking at more sophisticated models, I see there are some very nice "AX" models out there but they do not yet support VPN (DD-WRT F/W loads). It just doesn't exist yet.
Here's where it gets to be a conundrum. One IP Camera site suggest the extra layer of security of using a VPN, saying that 'bots' will take over my cameras if I don't use a VPN. If I go the VPN route, then I need to buy an older router because I don't want to run a node based VPN (software based).
If, as you suggest, I don't really NEED the VPN for my purpose, then I get the newer AX (gen 6) router.
If I do need the VPN then I need to get the slightly older "AC" router (AKA gen 5 I think) and load the code for DD-WRT for VPN protection at the router into my home LAN.

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Ask ten people.

Get ten slightly to very different answers.

Here I'm trying to get you to understand the VPN tunnel.

-> Now let's say I get my devices (doesn't matter if it's cameras or access control systems) in the VPN tunnel from my site to my office all the way to the server that is logging what I want.

That's secure as it gets since at no point did my traffic exit the VPN tunnel to get to a server or service.

-> Let's also note that security can be a very deep rabbit hole. Just how far down that hole do we need to go?

For example a poor fellow wanted his WiFi cameras to be secured but it was a bit too easy to demonstrate how easy it was to disrupt the WiFi system with a WiFi jammer. Another system we put off line because they didn't secure the breaker box. Just flip the building power off and done.

These didn't take high tech attacks of say to the IP camera with hack tools. A bit too simple which may have been why they had overlooked these easy methods to bring down the building surveillance (surveillance is not security.)

Note: A few of my jobs in the past was with companies that design and manufacture surveillance gear such as cameras, DVRs and access control systems. Fun times.

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Yup, already thought about ways around the system

Nothing is foolproof but some things don't take a brain surgeon to defend against either.
Hardwired, even if only one or two cameras, overrides the wifi jam.
Having offsite video recordings gets a pretty picture of the guy as he goes to cut the building power. Oops, too late, already on candid camera.
For discussion purposes we need to separate the nerd in his basement 1,000 miles away trying to show his prowess by taking over your cameras from the would be thief wearing a ski mask as he cuts the battery backed up power to your house. Well, at least the router and enough of the surveillance cameras are still on, or have already done their work.
Lastly, I don't live in a gated mansion. I won't be attracting the kind of thieves they make movies about.
At this point I will just buy the new AX router and depend on my complex passwords to defend my humble abode. If I want to revisit the VPN issue, there will probably be a DD-WRT flash available within the next year for the new router. If not, oh well, I tried.
Thanks for your input R. Proffitt.

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