Hidemyass! has been around since 2005, but in recent years it’s enjoyed a surge in popularity – almost certainly due to being acquired by AVG Technologies, and then security giant Avast, in 2016. It is one of the most talked-about VPNs out there, but what lies behind the chatter? Exactly how well can Hidemyass! hide my (and your) ass?
Hidemyass! (aka HMA!) has rolled out a lot of updates over the years to increase usability and the user experience. One key update is that it is now possible to connect to this VPN with up to five devices at the same time. HMA! also offers a business edition, and, while this costs more money, it does allow for a greater number of devices to connect at any one time.
HMA! has been vigorously tested, coming out 100% leak-free. It also has a handy app which can be downloaded across a multitude of devices, meaning you are just a click away from total privacy.
A fantastic feature. Military-grade encryption isn’t a rarity in the world of VPNs, but it’s a definite asset.
As mentioned above, HMA! is leak-free. Upon testing, the results came out nearly 100% watertight each time, but this isn’t guaranteed. We noted an instance where it didn’t, so always check.
At the moment, HMA! is offering a great deal on a 36-month plan. This is backed by its 30-day money-back guarantee, so if it doesn’t work for you, you don’t lose out.
HMA! boasts a huge network of more than 930 servers across 280 locations in 190 countries.
Logging and Five Eyes
Based in the UK, HMA! is smack-dab in the middle of the 5 Eyes which does affect its logging procedures. On the HMA website, it admits to collecting and storing the following: username, IP address of device connecting to the VPN, IP address of the VPN server used, amount of data transmitted and connect and disconnect timestamps. It also monitors the network use. At first glance this seems fine, but take a look back to 2011 and you might think otherwise. HMA! was involved in the Sony hack scandal in which it handed over data to the FBI. I mean, sure, what the hacker did was illegal, but it doesn’t look great for a company that boasts about privacy.
Streaming and Torrenting
HMA! has extremely slow torrenting speeds, and it’s a tough task finding a server that will connect to Netflix successfully. It has even been found that HMA! outright blocks some torrent attempts, resulting in the suspension of some accounts for violating copyright restrictions, further playing into the Five Eyes concerns above.
HMA! boasts 24-hour support, but despite that, its response speeds always seem to lag. Adding to this, its reference to customers needing help as ‘special snowflakes’ seems inappropriate!
It’s been reported that upon download of the HMA! set-up files, one of the files is flagged as suspicious. Whether intentional or not, this is concerning. When downloading, be sure to check each file before opening.
While HMA! has an incredibly large network, it seems a shame that hardly any of its nearly 1,000 servers can connect to Netflix. And if you miss out on the price deal, you could be paying several dollars a month for a service that merely guarantees your anonymity.