- Reddit theory says fans are wrong about who won ‘Game of Thrones’ Tuesday 6:52 PM
- Elon Musk hires ‘absolute unit’ sheep meme creator to be Tesla’s social media manager Tuesday 6:12 PM
- Jason Momoa stands by his Khaleesi after the ‘Game of Thrones’ finale Tuesday 4:05 PM
- Airbnb, 23andMe partner for creepy heritage travel recommendations Tuesday 3:26 PM
- Rep. Katie Porter goes viral again for trouncing Ben Carson (updated) Tuesday 3:26 PM
- This deepfake takes Bill Hader’s Schwarzenegger impression to the next level Tuesday 2:58 PM
- Wanda Sykes rails against Trump and offers much-needed perspective in ‘Not Normal’ Tuesday 2:41 PM
- Man arrested after allegedly threatening to shoot YouTube employees Tuesday 2:13 PM
- Some House Dems are backing away from the Save the Internet Act Tuesday 1:40 PM
- Thousands sign petition calling for Danny DeVito to play Wolverine Tuesday 1:02 PM
- Jason Mitchell fired from ‘Desperados’ and ‘The Chi’ after misconduct allegations Tuesday 12:36 PM
- Police raid Black woman’s house after white neighbor complains about loud Malcolm X speeches Tuesday 12:20 PM
- ‘Transfixed’ says it’s a ‘breakthrough’ series, but it still fetishizes trans bodies Tuesday 11:04 AM
- Senator proposes Do Not Track bill to allow consumers to opt out of data gathering Tuesday 10:54 AM
- The Queen of the North likes to Juul Tuesday 10:36 AM
If you’re one of the 46 million people who installed Hola, here’s why you should uninstall it, stat.
If you’re using Hola, a free virtual private network (VPN) that lets you stream things like Netflix abroad, you need to stop immediately. The company behind Hola is turning your computer into a node on a botnet, and selling your network to anyone who is willing to pay.
Security researchers discovered multiple security flaws in Hola and published their findings on a site called “Adios Hola.”
“Hola is harmful to the internet as a whole, and to its users in particular,” researchers wrote.
So what’s the big deal? By using Hola as a VPN, you can view any content that might otherwise be blocked in your location by routing your traffic through the U.S. or whatever country you want your content to be in. But Hola turns your computer into an exit node without your permission, essentially letting anyone browse the Web through your network. Any malicious activity could then be traced back to you.
As the researchers note, it’s the same problem people have on the Tor browser—but on Tor, you can opt out.
Hola is going even further, by selling access to the network through a site called Luminati from $1.45 to $20 per GB. On Adios Hola, researchers published chat logs between them and the company explaining that they don’t enforce rules that say people shouldn’t be engaging in illegal activity because the company has “no idea what you are doing on our platform.”
Additionally, Hola can let someone take over programs on your computer. The researchers explain:
And on some systems, it gets worse; Hola will happily run whatever you feed it as the ‘SYSTEM’ user. What this means in simple terms, is that somebody can completely compromise your system, beyond any repair. It allows for installing things like a rootkit, for example.
This problem is not just an ‘oversight’. It’s not a thing where you say ‘well, bugs can happen’. This kind of security issue can only happen if a developer is either grossly incompetent, or simply doesn’t care about the security of their users. It’s negligence, plain and simple, and there’s no excuse for it.
If you haven’t already, uninstall Hola right now. And if you’re not sure whether or not you’re vulnerable thanks to Hola, you can visit the site to find out.
Selena Larson is a technology reporter based in San Francisco who writes about the intersection of technology and culture. Her work explores new technologies and the way they impact industries, human behavior, and security and privacy. Since leaving the Daily Dot, she's reported for CNN Money and done technical writing for cybersecurity firm Dragos.