A Virtual Private Network has recently been accused that its users could become part of a Botnet. The company, Hola works by providing a private way for people to access a public network which is often used by people to access websites that are not normally available in their home country. A botnet is a network of computers that have been hijacked and are used for criminal activity.
VPN Hola has said that they have always let everyone know about how they send data using devices in the network that are not in use. However in the past it was noted that the chief executive, Ofer Vilenski admitted that the company had made some mistakes in the past.
The company offers a free service but in return for this customers have to agree that the company can use their bandwidth securely. However, they had not always made it clear to customers that this was what they meant when they explained this as peer-to-peer.
On the company website it explains that they also have a network which can be used to route data through millions of IP addresses which are located all over the world and that this consists of mobile devices, PC’s and laptops of their participating users. A cyber security expert from Surry University, Prof Alan Woodward explained that this looks like the type of operation expected form an insecure botnet. He went on to explain that there is even anecdotal evidence to suggest that the network might be used as a botnet. He explained that although it had not been seen doing this, it has the potential to be able to be used like this.
The chief executive has said that they only offer their online VPN service for legitimate commercial purposes and that they have a record of traffic and the real identity of users and report any criminal activity.