Complete installation guides and troubleshooting issues are to be found in the FAQ section of their website, yet the installation process is so simple that we’d be surprised if someone would actually require to go through any tutorial.
The extension suggests a list of popular websites, as used by other people from the same country.
As one may easily guess, the most popular are Netflix, Pandora, Hulu, Spotify and BBC but we also found many porn and adult cam-sites being popular in the lists.
Hola is a browser-based service that can be used to unblock geo-locked content and it also offers the possibility to stream videos online using an intuitive media player.
With over 40 million claimed users, Hola is intended mostly for private and non-commercial users.
The company also collect personal information (IP addresses, name and emails), but also information provided by third party services which can be used to create an account (Facebook, for example).
They should make it clear that traffic is not encrypted, as the website claims state otherwise: Speaking of encryption, they mention that SSL encryption on any site will be available soon for Premium users. However, the service works as a P2P network, which means that other users might access the Internet through one’s computer, using bandwidth and eventually causing trouble.
Premium services allow paying users to redirect their requests to other peers, while they themselves are never used as peers.
Since they do not provide details on this, we decided to run a packet-capture test and dig deeper in the traffic, sniffing the connection made through the Hola browser addon.
We discovered that a proxy connection was established mostly on port 22222 and all traffic was in clear-text.
These apps are installed directly from Hola, by-passing the Google Play.