Hola Responds to Allegations of Botnet Support

Following the recent allegations against Hola Better Internet, the CEO and co-founder Ofer Vilenski posted a lengthy blog post on their website.

Titled “The recent events on the Hola network“, Mr. Vilenski admits the company has made mistakes but promises to do better moving forward. The mistakes, he claims, was due to Hola’s massive popularity and growth. When people innovate, mistakes are made.

The changes he promise to implement is two-fold. To make it more apparent to users that Hola works by building a P2P distributed network, where each user is a network endpoint. Previously this fact was hidden in the FAQ pages. The second promise it to implement improved scrutiny on the commercial use of Hola for Business, dubbed Luminati.

So far only one known case of malicious use of Luminati has surfaced, which was the DDoS attack against 4chan which we reported on yesterday.

The question remains if it is already too late for Hola to bounce back to their laurels from the massive torrent of negative PR in recent days.

On the Android app store, users have left negative reviews and issued warnings against installing the free VPN app. One user, Savannah King Norton, writes in her review: “Dangerous, DO NOT USE Hola by design lets strangers use your IP to do anything (legal or illegal!) It is a huge security vulnerability and on top of that they sell use of your bandwidth and IP address to businesses with zero oversight. DO NOT USE HOLA

On Reddit, the discussion against Hola is intense. One user, Alsway7, explains the problem: “People running exit nodes run huge risks, and certainly most have had run ins with the law. Imagine your home being raided and you arrested because someone ordered meth, or guns, or viewed child porn and it all looks like it came from your computer. All you did was use hola to unblock Netflix.

In a different thread on Reddit, a user named wredditcrew writes: “Techies have been saying Hola is bad for a long time, but it’s suddenly become apparent how spectacularly bad it is“.

In a more extreme case, a group of Internet activists have created an entire website aimed to discourage people to use Hola altogether.

We will follow the development on this story to see if Hola is able to bounce back to it’s previous glory or if it’s already a lost cause.