What Everybody Ought to Know About HideMyAss

In most instances using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is sufficient to hide your real identity while online; however as Cody Kretsinger, who was using just this type of service, the UK based company Hide My Ass, had to find out, this might not always be the case.

If you’ve never heard of Hide My Ass VPN, The Guardian suggests it’s a good option for accessing restricted content, because HMA has the largest server network of all VPN providers.

For the record, I do not condone illegal activities using VPN services, nor on the Internet. So lets look at what happened. In September 2011 the FBI arrested Cody Kretsinger, a 23-year old Phoenix resident and charged him with conspiracy and unauthorized impairment of a protected computer, the Sony Pictures website. According to Reuters, Kretsinger pleaded guilty to both charges and could face up to 15 years in prison. “I joined LulzSec, your honor, at which point we gained access to the Sony Pictures website.”, Kretsinger, known online as “recursion”, told the judge after entering his guilty plea, as reported by Wire. LulzSec was considered a spinoff of Anonymous, a world-wide operating group of hacker-activists.

Earlier, in March 2011, the FBI had arrested a core member of LulzSec, Hector Xavier Monsegur, also known as “sabu”, who apparently turned into an informant for the FBI. In June hackers associated with LulzSec, allegedly including Kretsinger, hacked into SonyPictures.com and compromised personal information of more than 1 Million users. Sony Pictures had to notify 37,500 users that their personal info might be at risk.

Data provided by http://attrition.org/security/rants/sony_aka_sownage.html

London based Virtual Private Network provider Hide My Ass (HMA) appears to have played a vital role in Kretsinger’s arrest.  A leaked IRC chat log revealed that hackers, including Kretsinger aka “recursion”, boasted about their illegal activities online and used HMA to conceal their identities. Hackers assume fake online identities and go to great length to hide their location and other identifiable details for obvious reasons.

It appears that the FBI traced a hack into Sony back to an IP address owned by HMA and promptly got a UK court oder, demanding logs from HMA an incident HMA dubbed the “LulzSec Fiasco” in a post on their blog on September 23rd, 2011. When leaked IRC chat logs revealed that some LulzSec members used HMA to conceal their identities, HMA didn’t take any action they stated on their blog; however, later they made it clear that “Our VPN service and VPN services in general are not designed to be used to commit illegal activity. It is very naive to think that by paying a subscription fee to a VPN service you are free to break the law without any consequences.” They then went on to say that “We would also like to clear up some misconceptions about what we do and what we stand for. In 2005 we setup HMA primarily as a way to bypass censorship of the world-wide-web whether this be on a government or a corporate/localized scale. We truly believe the world-wide-web should be world-wide and not censored in anyway.”

In later edits of this blog post they indicate that they do not log a user’s activity, just the log-on and log-off events, that they do this to identify abusive users, that they complied with UK law and finally, that there isn’t a UK law prohibiting them to aid Egyptian to access social networks, such as Twitter, which was blocked by that country’s government.

While I appreciate HMA addressing these issues openly rather than swiping them under the rug, the incident points to a serious flaw in the system. When you are selling a service that claims to protect a users privacy, hence identity, you can’t turn around later and reveal just that to authorities without appearing at least a little insincere.

Virtual Private Networks are used for many purposes, accessing blocked websites, accessing region restricted content, bypassing network filters, accessing Twitter, Facebook and Skype in countries that block such connections, or simpler applications like protecting your privacy when accessing a public Wifi spot and stopping your Internet Service Provider (or ISP) from snooping into your business.

It doesn’t take too much imagination to see that VPNs can also be used for outright illegal activities, copyright violations and hacking for example. All VPN providers know this and, while their terms and conditions always state that their services are not to be used for illegal activities, they derive a portion of their revenue from users who signed up for just that purpose, something all VPN providers are aware of.

As a VPN service provider your main selling points are privacy, anonymity, presence (as in how many countries you have IP addresses in) and speed. At the same time you are also running a business (if we neglect any hobbyists and non-profits for a moment) that was setup to make money, and as any legal entity you must comply with the laws and regulations of the country you are operating in. Many (if not most or even all) lease bandwidth and IP addresses from other providers, and abusive behaviors of their customers can easily jeopardize their business. Usually the term abusive behavior when used by a VPN service refers to bandwidth hogs, subscribers with (much) higher than average bandwidth usage, potentially slowing down the service for others. With speed being one of the main selling points it is easy to see why.

In response to the HMA LulzSec case, many VPN providers now quite prominently claim on their sites, that they don’t keep logs; yet many terms and conditions also alert users that they will investigate suspicious behavior, apparently referring to, what they consider to be, illegal activity. My question then is this: If a provider does not log your IP address and does not log your activity, how would they be able to investigate anything?

While the LulzSec case may seem extreme and it is easy to think: why worry, I am not engaged in illegal activities online? The RIAA and MPAA (for those who don’t know, those are the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America) have come to an agreement with certain Internet Service Providers to cooperate to curb illegal file sharing under the clever and innocent sounding name Copyright Alert System or abbreviated CAS. They decide what they consider illegal and enlist your ISP to notify you, and if necessary, force you to watch educational videos or throttle your bandwidth. Maybe a no-log VPN is a good idea after all?

Reuters reports that a Los Angeles judge sentenced 25 year old Cody Kretsinger to a one year prison term, one year home detention and 1000 hours of community service. He also has to pay $605,663 in restitution for the attack on Sony Pictures.

Kretsinger had pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy and unauthorized impairment of a protected computer (i.e. computer hacking) in a plea-bargaining agreement in April 2012 and was facing up to 15 years in prison.


Hector Xavier Monsegur, also know as “Sabu”, the computer hacker turned FBI informant, was sentenced to 7 months in prison, basically the time he already served.

A remorseful Monsegur pleaded guilty to computer hacking crimes in 2011 and was originally facing more than 26 years behind bars, but received a significantly reduced sentence for his cooperation with the FBI that led to the arrest of Jeremy Hammond, who was at the time the FBI’s No. 1 crime target.

Hammond is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for the 2011 cyberattack that exposed tens of thousands of consumer credit cards and millions of private emails affiliated with Strafor (the global intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting), a crime Monsegur allegedly encouraged him to commit.

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Image Credit: gaelx


  1. They have a record of your internet activity no matter the size of your ego. Big ego they have your internet records, small ego they have your internet records.

  2. I dumped HMA, because they perform badly. Leaving aside they operate in the UK (note VPN companies in the UK are by definition not the “P” part!). They simply lost too much of my ISP bandwidth. Pointing this out did not help so I got another VPN which thankfully actually works OK.

  3. I also have made very poor experiences with HMA as a publisher and was cheated by the company.

    I used to be an affiliate for them and promoted their service until i realized on my last trip to China that their service is slow and unreliable. Thats why I decided to collaborate with other VPN Providers.

    However, Hidemyass still ows me the approved commissions for several customers and refuse to pay them even we had exchanged at least 10 emails. They say they paid (which they never did) and denied to to show any evidence that they really wired it.

    While this could be a missunderstanding (which could be easily solved with a minimum of good will), there is another fact that makes it very obvious that HMA systematically cheats its affilate partners.

    Exactly the day I switched from HMA to a competitor, I made 5 times more sales per month. During the time I worked with HMA I have lost several hundered dollars due to something that I understand as a fraudent scheme.

    • Use NordVPN without any concern. Or you can make your own VPN and rent server time in various countries.

  4. HMA Pro keep your account on Auto renewal mode without your knowledge and keep charging you and even if you raise issue – they don’t reply your emails or tickets. So it is big fraud company

  5. DON’T BUY HIDEMYASS, THEY ARE A TOTAL RIP OFF. COMPLETELY UNRELIABLE SERVICE. 90% OF TIMES I NEED TO CONNECT WHILE OUT OF COUNTRY, CONNECTION DOESNT WORK AND IF YOU LOG IN A SERVICE TICKET, IT TAKES THEM 3-4 WEEKS TO REPLY TO YOU, MAKING THE RESPONSE USELESS AS I AM ALREADY BACK HOME AND DONT NEED THEIR SERVICES. Do the research and chose another provider, this one is a total fraud and you will pay for services you cannot use. I cancel my subscription and requested a partial refund because I am paying for services I can’t use, and they refused to. Logged in a FCC complaint and making sure other people are saved by their predatory and unreliable services.

  6. Isn’t HMA owned by AVG? If it is, then I think it’s important for people to know that. I won’t support AVG. I purchased HMA, without knowing this (which AVG keeps as quiet as it can). When I learned about this cooperation with the lawless, violent authorities, I delete the app and the AVG on my computers. Gone. Sure, There may come to be no good players in the biz at all, and no amount of protests, in any form, we do will matter. But until then…

  7. Apply the ‘good faith’ principle here folks. Tax-evading (lawless in other words) corporations are now enjoying more freedom and power than ever, since Citizens United and Citizens United 2 (which confirmed CU 1) declared that money means free speech. With their money and influence, corporations have bought governments – and all that goes with them; security orgs, police, military, judicial oversight, etc – and themselves call the shots. This is not really new. It’s been with us for a few years. John Perkins coined the term “Corporatocracy” to describe this global governance by corporations, with US-based corporations in the driver’s seat, which includes powerful entities like the NSA (privacy? Ha!), the military/intelligence/security-industrial complex, Wall St., Big Pharma, the NRA and Big Tobacco. Then you have ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, which includes politicians ‘and’ CEOs and has the purpose of completing cutting out the people in the lawmaking process. When you cut out the people to leave the political class and the business community running things, jointly, with the CEOs in fact directing the whole endeavor, which they call “democracy,” then you have fascism.

    The good faith principle means looking at an individual, or org’s, past behavior when assessing its claims to good intentions.

    Pirates? There’s something like $32 TRILLION in offshore tax havens, used by all manner of people, including conventional terrorist orgs. And it is, of course, legal.

    You’ve hear about what is legal. And you hear about what is legitimate. A thing can be legal but illegitimate. Think about it when you consider the workings of the gangster corporatocracy, whose willing and power members are responsible for the class war from which they profit.

    When I file share, Is it because I just have to have things for free? No. I don’t even believe in money but I have to deal with it because that’s the system that lawless, violent capitalists (who don’t practice pure capitalism) have foisted on us all. Does Sony, etc, care about the millions who work too many hours, harder than ever, for too little, while they (probably) don’t pay their taxes and have the ability to buy the kind of politicians and governments who will pass laws that they want passed and which will benefit them? Not a chance. If I had an income like the average CEO and could afford to pay for every single song and movie I watched, I would be able to. So what? And that doesn’t even address a lot of other silliness and abuse. I might download and watch movies I’ve already paid (too much) to see, just out of boredom and because Hollywood/CIA/Pentagon cranks out far too much garbage that I’m just not interested in consuming.

    • Lawless and violent authorities? Deleting apps because of connections with them? Ye g-ds.
      I suggest you avoid using the roads, trains, schools and hospitals too because they are all very connected to the authorities.
      There are indeed problems with capitalism. However, modern western capitalist society is probably the fairest, most liberal, socially mobile, inclusive, safest and least violent society the world has ever seen. It permits and facilitates you to speak freely, even if your comments are unfair.

  8. I’ve been considering getting a VPN because I live in a tiny issland of a country with a population about the size of Buffalo, NY, and I want to watch Lifetime material so bad, but all the websites where I can find it are blocked for my country. Even if I could find a wbsite where I could pay a monthly fee, I’d be satisfied. Thing is, I don’t know if it would be legal for me to watch material from the lifetime website if I’m not in the US. Although FBI has no juristiction in my country, and the law in my country most likely wouldn’t give a rats ass, I don’t think i’m going to risk it. Besides, that’s not my biggest concern since I’m in very little risk with that part. My main concern is that if I have to pay for using the website I find, then can somebody steal my credit card info?

    • Hi @Ingz,

      I’m writing to your on behalf of HMA! team.

      Your concern is understandable – we never give out any kind of personal information to anyone, except if we are obliged to do so, by a legal order made in the UK (where we are based).

      We take privacy and security very seriously, but we do not provide our service to allow people to break law – this is proven to be of great help in keeping the online space and community safer.

      We appreciate your comment and feel free to email us at info@hidemyass.com if you have any further questions.

    • Your credit card information can be stolen if the website you find is a scam, obviously. If you are referring to your card info being stolen from the VPN website then – no. The VPN website will protect your card info and obviously not charge you more than your monthly fee.

  9. I dont do anything ilegal but I will not renew my HMA account with these people. They are the lowest of the low in my eyes for this. Might as well be US based if they are going to be scumbags and breach privacy like this.

    • Hi DOMDOM,

      I am contacting you on behalf of HMA! team.

      Just to clarify – we only log IPs, connection and disconnection times. We do not monitor any of your online activity or save personal information on you, nor do we have access to it. The information we do have is also not shared with anyone or any institution, except the UK court if provided with a legal order.

      • So let me see if I get this straight. You only log IP addresses along with Connection and disconnection times. Yet with your logs they were able to trace the IP address back to your server, then finally back to Kretsinger. That is only possible if they have information about how the traffic was routed and bridged between his IP and the website. So in other words, either you’re storing a lot more information, or they were sitting there looking right at the traffic while he was making a connection to Sony’s servers. Either way HMA is directly responsible for this, and certainly do not stand for privacy anonymity. It’s a bit like slapping an eco label on a vegetable and sell it for twice as much, while in fact it’s no different from the regular one. All just “legally” false marketing.

  10. Trust me if you use this VPN you will have troubles. It is 100% guarantee. Wether it be software or billing related you definetely will be unsatisfied.

    • Hi Brad T,

      I am very sorry to hear about your experience.

      If you would like, you ca send us an email at info@hidemyass.com – our Support team will be happy to assist you with anything concerning HMA! service and hopefully change your impression.


  11. HMA automatically renewed my subscription for one year. I have not used their service in a considerable amount of time. They are refusing to provide a refund at this point which means that they took about $80 from me knowing that I have not been using their service and do not want to use it moving forward. I have escalated this issue and will follow up with the results.

  12. why does anyone think they’ll garner the scrutiny of US law enforcement agencies unless they are doing something illegal, i.e. breaking the laws that they enforce. it’s egotistical to think your lame-ass online activity is interesting to say the least! if the intelligence community is gaining any info, it’s for just that, intelligence, to protect the US, not to look into your bullshit activities online. any law enforcement agency is made up of people, normal people who are working with specific purpose and nothing more. human nature is laziness, so those that are most lazy, government workers, could give 2 shits about what you’re doing unless you’re already on their radar because your ip address is linked to illicit or terrorist activity, or online cybersecurity of the citizens they are supposed to protect. the best quote i’ve found re your internet privacy and government interception: “ratchet back the paranoia, you are not a person “they” would be interested in surveilling. if you were involved in something nefarious enough to draw attention of federal law enforcement surveillance, it’s too late, “they” already know. you should be more worried about geeks with a little knowledge and a lot of free time.”

    • We know that many agencies of the US government have no qualms about conducting surveillance on anyone at anytime and for no good reason. The argument that anyone who is not involved in illegal activities should not be concerned about surveillance is a hollow argument against attempts to maintain privacy/anonymity on the web. Your argument is tantamount to saying that I should have no fear of allowing random searches of my domicile by police if I have nothing to hide.

    • Its about profiling everyone in the home. Including children who may go on to do something which is important one day. It is also about putting oneself in a position of being automatically unable to gain a position of significant authority in a company.

      I already know most clients I deal with which run very deep security checks on individuals. Most of which do not know that something they did or said online when they were much younger means they never had any chance of getting the job to begin with.

      Worse, children growing up now will find they are not free to make normal adolescent or young adult mistakes as peers who didnt will be far more likely to be selected based upon profile.

      Please, just because you do not understand it, dont think everyone else is similarly ignorant.

    • Agree. Manipulation of democracy is far more important to the type of organisations that would use the data than law enforcement in most cases.

  13. Thanks a lot to the article writer as well as who expressed their thoughts here. It was nice to know more information about HMA. Recently I also subscribed so just I was searching for Do’s and Don’ts

  14. I got this VPN provider almost 2 years ago and it worked perfectly until a month ago. Here it is a summary of my experience using this provider. First, it was a mission to get a straight answer from HMA customer service regarding the connection in China. The only answer they knew was “Our technical support is working on it.” It was incredibly frustrated not to have any solutions to this problem. Then after trial and error trying to fix the connection in China, at this time, it is still not working. I am extremely disappointed in this service as I have paid a year in advance for a service I still don’t have. To get a refund for the months left of my subscription seems out of the questions for this company. I feel blindsided as the customer representatives never informed me that this provider would not be guaranteed for users in China. I asked them this question at least 20 times and back then, they all said it was going to be fine. If you are in China or going to China for any reason, try to look around for better VPN service providers. At this point, I would not recommend HMA for customers if you will use it in China and how the handle customer service.

  15. HMA and friends are – sorry where – only good for evading commercial country barriers.

    If you wanted to use Netflix U.S. while abroad. There they were good. And that was for the average Joe (the bulk of paying customers).

    If you are a whistleblower / human right activist / someone who is doing something in a hemisphere powerfull entitys do not want you to do, do not relay on those Kindergarten-twerps.

    Better spend many days learning how to hide efficently in the internet then spending months or years in prison (be it U.S., Russia or China)… or worse. Period.

    • that is 100 percent correct and HMA and other companies are owned by the same agencies who arrested these individuals, they own many other businesses as well.

  16. You so CAN make your service better by bloody returning money after charging my card for the annual subscription. I was like 1 orr 2 days past the date. I even did not know I had to switch this off. I HATE businesses that make shady (in teeny letters) agreements where I have learned now I cant get my 60 bucks back because you can only when you are a first timee customer. and I even did not happen to use your program that much anyways. You arent worth the money, you are doing your business in a sneaky shady way. I would reccomend everyone to stay away!

    • Thank you for this Eva,

      I to would not like to give money to business that uses such shady tactics to generate revenue. Revenue that is put into an account that may be used even before it is earned as in a subscription. The company will then use that account to invest in short term CDs and earn interest of the unearned income and not have to report as revenue. That is dishonest and stealing.

      I would be even more concerned about what other shady business practices are followed by companies that have to earn revenue unlawfully.

    • privatoria, hma plus more are the same networks using vpn to browse through peoples computers and even use them to conceal their own activities, read complaints on REDDIT about privatoria taking peoples money and totally IGNORING THEM!

    • That doesn’t mean its good, that means nothing. As the article says, there is an issue with the disclourse of logs and other information to government agencies. I think its best to setup a VPN through TOR and not every use a credit card to pay for a VPN service as that is a direct link back to you, your account details and then everything about you.

      And if any VPN service is in the west forget about true privacy, all the western countries governments can through the law get any information out of a ISP or VPN service.

  17. I am a HMA customer I checked out the story above before signing up to them.

    HMA make it clear in the t’s and c’s: that they log when you connect to their server and which VPN server you connect to.and your IP address, but they do not log your activity while using the service.

    My investigation confirmed that the information HMA provided in the court case was time of connection and which of their servers where used, as specified in the T’s and C’, that is it .

    With respect to the comment on automatic billing, you can log on and cancel at any time, so why are you whinging about it, most web services use automatic billing thankfully, there is no way i would set up payment every month.

    Most VPN’s i have looked into do the same level of logging as HMA , when you connect, which server and where from , but they are not as open about it and word the T’s and C’s carefully, this is why i went for HMA their T’s and C’s where open and clearly worded.


    • Logging the logon logoff sessions is enough for a government agency to start to build a picture of what you are doing. They don’t always need the other details of what URLs you are going to. They can just monitor all traffic coming out of that ISP and using the timing of your logons and logoffs and the connections made from the VPN to other services around that time and start to deduce what URLs you are going to.

  18. Just don’t do it. I signed up with them for a month, only to find out later that they automatically charge you monthly unless you specify they stop. The service didn’t work for what I wanted it for, I accepted that, but to turn around and keep charging me for a service that they couldn’t help me with was not ok. Long story short, just stay away. This company has a bad customer service and are I personally would not recommend them.

  19. Agreeing with many posters here: HMA HideMyAss VPN is a risky VPN provider both in terms of logging and payment and recurring payment handling. Can not recommend.

  20. Hide My Ass (HMA) is just another sleazy operation. Why would you trust a thief? Have you not heard the saying: “There’s no honor among thieves.”

    I’m glad HMA is cracking down on the countless tweens who are ripping filmmakers off and then posting horrible reviews on IMDB.

    I curse this generation of tweens. They’re dangerous, lazy idiots who can’t afford to pay $3.99 to watch a movie on iTunes. They were be forever poor and forever living in a 1-bed apartment. Ugly, pimple-faced and fat. The rest of their natural-born lives I curse them.

  21. Beware! HMA have a bizarre payment processor called Avangate. My AMEX Goldcard details were filled in (as usual) by my password manager, Dashlane, for the enormous sum of US$11.52

    Can’t connect to VPN. Avangate sends me an email that is virtually “phishing” seeking info that, in my country, would be interpreted as an attempt to breach Privacy Act and commit ID theft.

    HMA may be the biggest VPN, but this is the road to commercial suicide.

  22. This company is terrible. They refuse refunds and use your credit card to charge up without your permission. All positive reviews are probably paid advertising and I would strongly recommend everyone staying away from them.

  23. my compliments to the owner of this sight well written articles and informative. One more note on HIDE MY ASS
    vpn services. They have the nerve to charge in usa dollars, so if your in canada like me you are charged 97.00 for there shit service. This is one of the more expensive vpn’s out there, and they save everything. Log in log out, the sights you visit, emails, everything and for 2 years or more, so your not really on a private net work from them are you.?

    • More like Expose My Ass! First of all, you pay with a traceable currency like a check, credit card or your bank account. You should never pay for any service to be anonymous with anything but Bitcoin or other digital anonymous currency. The whole point behind a VPN is to hide your identity. Plain and Simple. So, why keep logs?? To aid the government in their quest to own the internet and our privacy! Use a real VPN like IP Vanish or Golden Frog if you want to be totally anonymous and not have to worry about what porn you are downloading. It’s nobody else’s business what you do online except your own. If you choose to commit illegal acts, you’re eventually gonna get caught anyway, so wizen up people! Check out the company you are giving your hard earned money to, so that they provide the service they are supposed to like privacy online. It seems like they’re is no such thing anymore unless you want to be labeled as a criminal just because some bad guys use the same services. Encrypt your network your router and anything you use to access the internet or you will be monitored and your privacy means nothing!

      It’s time that everyone wake up and learn cryptography, cryptanalysis and cryptology. (Encoding, Decoding and the math behind encrypting.) It really is just math on another level using algorithms to make and break a cipher. This should be taught in school at an early age so that everyone knows how to keep things a secret-something that is unheard of these days. Look at Google and Facebook etc… If you’re on either one of these with your real information, then your whole life is on the internet for the bad guys to access to use your identity and worse, to ruin your life, if they desire. Be Smart, READ and LEARN HOW TO USE GPG OR PGP ENCRYPTION SOFTWARE, and use it for everything. This is the only way to keep your business private, the way it was meant to be in the constitution. I’d think about what you put on FB and Google before you do because it only makes you that much more vulnerable. Anyone wanting to learn how to use encryptions and anonymous security measures to stay safe can email me at: greengiant@tutanota.com (a very safe encrypted email service!!) Tormail is safe too.

  24. I unfortunately purchased a years subscription from hide my ass. The reason i don’t use it is because what i read after the fact! they do keep logs, they keep passwords where you visit, and keep this for 2 years. they are not protecting your privacy, and make it almost impossible to get a refund. They won’t even give you a partial refund, as in my case i had for 3 days, told them i was not happy and wanted a refund, they said no. your not getting one, we will keep your years subscription with out a dime given back to you.They are greedy, there liars, and their service is very slow.. I went with vpvanish they do not keep logs, their service is lightning fast. I decided to take the loss, and go with a service that claims what they say, and protects your freedoms rather than hindering them. I don’t want to pay for a service that does not do what they claim. final conclusion if your considering hide my ass vpn stay as far away from this outfit as you possibly can there are better vpn services out there that do what they claim. do your home work, and listen to people that have had run ins with them, they do not protect your privacy at all!!?

    • jt – We’re glad to hear your service with us has been good thus far! As a reminder, if you run into any issues you are more than welcome to contact our technical support team 24/7/365. We want to thank you for being an IPVanish user!

    • I agree with you. I got the same BS response when I tried to cancel the service… (Yep, I went for the year service off the bat). The problem I had apart from being very sluggish the service at HMA, was that running L2TP, they kept disconnecting me every 30 secs.
      They were blaming my end of course, and when I got it running on PPTP, I found out the service was slow and thus useless for me, I tried to cancel.

      Their reason for denying my refund was that I had connected more then the 100 times allowed for a refund… Obviously I had, their system kept booting me off every 30 seconds and trying to reconnect.

      I’m still forcing the issue, and will take it up with PayPal if I need to.

      • when you registered to PP you gave name Date f birth address (+i dunn if its linked to your account no too) the say in the site they gather info AND share it with 3rd parties(abt your financial moovements when and for what you use the service)IP address, your computers ID ,geolocation and other
        Why didnt you mind abt that? (i m just curious why noonecares they gather apparently all your info ,more than anyone ,more than google addsense

  25. I agree we either have privacy to a degree, and logs are not saved, or we don’t. This should be clearly stated upfront, and if hma pro states this and they do keep logs. then i feel this is false advertising, and we deserve a refund.

  26. i agree if we are paying for a vpn not to keep logs then this is a breech of their contract and deserve a totoal refund if required.. Other wise they should tell you the truth upfront that they do keep logs.

  27. To make a point very clear, the FBI already ‘had’ one member of the group. They encouraged the group to take more risks and do a larger attack precisely in order to catch members. It would not matter what measures were taken as sabu and the FBI were party to all group communication.

    • Based on what you just said, then the FBI is actually the entity responsible for the crime then, as they conspired to use their informant to instigate and help set up this mass attack, which can strongly be argued may not have ever happened without their instigation via their proxy(informant).

  28. Andre, first of all, I wanted to congratulate you for such a well written text! It was a pleasant reading.

    It also took me attention that you keep contact with your public (thumbs up), that means I’m going to be back here often.

    Last but not least, have you ever though about inserting a revision history (change log) on your articles, or to make it simpler, add the posting date and last revision/edit date below the title or at the end of the article? It’s hard to figure out when this was posted as we have the 03.02.2015 on the left sidebar (and on the home page) and there are comments to this since 2012. Since your articles seem serious this would give more confidence to the reader and also help you not to get annoying comments in the future such as: “this is wrong, they don’t do that since 2014″(something you wouldn’t be able to forecast in 2012…).

    Sorry for the long comment!

    Herrliche Grüße,
    Ein guter Freund

    • Thank you for your comment. We are always looking for ways to make the site more user-friendly and easier to navigate. Your suggestions are appreciated.

      Stop by often!

      Viele Gruesse,


  29. I just received an email from HMA telling me that they got a complaint about me from the legal department of ‘American Sniper’. They told me that they did not inform their legal department, then went on to say that they condemn any illegal activity while using their servers. A friendly reminder that they are watching, what do you think?

  30. I dropped HMA almost a year ago when I knew they were doing this. What are your thoughts on Private Internet Access? I switched to them and was wondering if they are any better?

    • Hi and thanks for stopping by. When it comes to privacy and anonymity, then yes, Private Internet Access (PIA) is clearly better than HMA, the major difference being that HMA logs user activity while PIA does not, as stated in the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy. If you are using your VPN for torrenting, then go with PIA; if you only need it to encrypt a public Wi-Fi connection then it doesn’t really matter.

      Here’s the rub though, technically speaking every VPN provider can potentially log user activity or could be compelled to do so. Aside from PIA not being able to provide historical data (because they don’t keep logs) compared with HMA, it will depend on how much of a fight a VPN provider will put up to protect their users should law enforcement come knocking on their door…

      • HMA! doesn’t log user activity.
        They log time stamps of your connections, bandwidth and your IP. It’s all written on their website.
        And don’t be fooled, ALL VPN SERVICES KEEP LOGS!
        HMA! at least has the guts to actually say it.

    • until recently the chinese vpns where totally the real deal but their new laws are about to take effect after the US started pressuring them for wikileaks (was not russia but China) and now they want to bang vpns nation wide!

      whats funny is China does all kinds of stuff and gets away with it, they even purchased chunks of hollywood and are using the studios for propaganda against politicians inside the USA, the head member of the UN is a moonie from china!

  31. Luminati has changed the game for proxy networks — It’s like Tor, only faster and much larger. Luminati enables you to send your HTTP(s) request through our massive peer to peer network, through millions of IPs. In every city in the world.

    With the Luminati API you control the country of the exit node and you control when to change IP within that country. You can send high rate, high bandwidth requests through these millions of IPs.

    You can see more information at luminati.io.

    • Luminati is definitely not like Tor which uses Onion routing to keep the sender’s identity anonymous. Luminati is just another anonymous P2P proxy network, which brags itself “the world’s largest anonymity network” without giving much details – “How do you keep each node anonymous?”, “How messages are encrypted or are they encrypted at all?”, and “How do you keep the payment information safe and anonymous?” since Luminati is a paid service.

  32. In other words, any government agency with a court order gets carte blanche access to HMA.
    In other words, it isn’t protecting anyone

  33. I use hidemyass daily to connect to poland and it works flawlessly every time. I have used other services that have been very unreliable and left me unable to connect on occassion. I would recommend this to anyone who requires a fast, reliable connection through their vpn service.

  34. Thanks for this article. VPN is good if you want to hide your real location. However, about content streaming, I prefer the DNS option. Currently, I am using UnoTelly and have no speed loss  which allows me HD streaming with my 10 mbps connection.

  35. Tried a few other VPN service. In my opinion HMA is the best at a very fair price. It adds a whole new of watching TV through my computer in countries other than the one you in. More information here:

    All the best:)

  36. @bob I get what your saying totally but when faced with the courts I don’t think any VPN can resist that. they could spend a fortune defending by appealing against a court order which would probably bankrupt them with legal fees.

  37. @Ben T you’re spot on here. they can see what you do in your own home and the same applies to everybody. as for VPN i’m with HMA and find it a good service. it works fast. as for this Kretzinger case, they only supplied log on log off details and i bet any service would have to do that if it came down to a High Court intervention. at the end of the day the courts have the last say on these matters and if all they get is log on log off details that’s fine by me.

  38. I guess they are cherry picking what it is they chose to hide our asses on. @tia_darcy if you paid money to download something they shouldn’t interfere it’s not like you’re uploading something harmful well maybe I ‘spose they think what it is ur downldng can be used malicously. But good heads up no sense paying for something you can’t use fully. I agree with you. I’ll say I do from time to time like to hmm wink wink ‘borrow’ a game or two just for educational purposes you see.

  39. I paid for HMA for a year, used it for 6 weeks then got blocked by them for downloading something that they had a complaint about. They are based in the UK and are worse than useless as a VPN. Id been filesharing for awhile without being ‘hidden’. My ISP said nothing but I pay for (expensive too) a VPN and with 6 weeks I’m getting problems. Avoid HMA like the plague. Pick something not based in the UK.

  40. Rock and a hard place. You try to stay away from prying eyes and getting hacked yourself, what with all the re-directs out there solely based on advertizing to draw users to what it is someone is ‘selling’ has caused a lot of issues internet wise for people who just want to surf or get torrents anonymously, but as all things people take it and run with it creating illegal activities like the guy hacking Sony for god knows what reason other that ‘he can’. So is it right for HMA to turn his ass in? Where do you draw the line? IMHO if you use it to hack and cause mischief and harm YOU crossed the line. You just can’t condone actions that goes against common sense.

    Like here in the states and the gun issue. Guns themselves don’t commit crimes but the availability of them alone is rendered as the cause of gun related crimes. Remove ’em and voila’ no crimes. Not so fast my friend. Crimminals would love nothing better, they loath the ‘stand your ground’ deal as they are the ones getting shot by law abiding citizens that protect themselves.

     So the question really is what you do and how you use it. Abuse it and pay the penalty in my book. You try to do something worthwhile like having anonymous IPs for folks but we all know when you use it whatever service it is, you’re using has your IP to start with to go there so don’t think poorly of the service for standing on moral ground because YOU abused it, just think of yourself as being stupid for doing it in the first place. In these days and times people for some reason think it’s smart or cute to hack sites or hold computers for ransom, it will forever be ongoing no matter the restrictions.

     I’m all for Net Neutality for all the obvious reasons and as in all things people you’ve got your bad apples that spoil the barrel. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. HMA was right. Now if NSA hacks HMA that’s a different story and I’ll betcha it’s ongoing.

  41. some of these vpns such as purevpn are nothing but a con , collecting subscriptions and providing either nothing or a laughably slow and useless service that lets you do nothing


  42. I can’t believe how passive people have become about our loss of privacy after 9/11. It is insane. Everyone has this “so what if you are not doing anything illegal” attitude, THAT IS NOT THE POINT! Example; my cousin can be seen in his house in his boxers drinking a cup of coffee. Really?! He laughed when he showed me. That should be an outrage. Are they transmitting radiowaves or dropping chemtrails to keep everyone so passive? It should be a disgusting bitter outrage with people in the streets but no one seems to care. The technology of a satellite in outterspace being able to zoom into you,so close to the point it can count the hairs on your head, or being tracked everywhere you go from your mobile devices or even your car SHOULD BE AN OPTION!!!! It is not a free country any longer when you have to wonder if the NSA is looking at your dick when you piss, or you know for a fact you are being logged, tracked, recorded, listened to. Thats no conspiracy theory it is a fact. I could go on and on but I won’t. This country is pretty fuckin disgusting and the main reason being I can’t even type this opinion and speak my mind or have free will without thinking the government will be watching, listening, reading. I’m sure this little post will even get looked at because I have said key worlds like “9/11” “government” and “privacy”…. oh well gone are the days that you could masturbate without wondering if the government is watching or tell private things to your loved ones without it being logged and listened to.

  43. I don’t want to do anything that your typical person living in the free world would consider criminal, but we live in a day and age where activities can change in their legality very quickly and arbitrarily, depending on who you tick off. My adage about life has become, you have all the freedom in the world until it becomes an inconvenience to someone in power, then look out. I want to retain privacy because I want to retain my rights as a free and civilized human being, what we have now is quickly turning into what George Orwell warned us about, without exaggeration.

  44. What VPN(s) do you use? Are you using software other than that provided/required by the VPN? When you say encrypted on both ends, what do you mean exactly? How? You mean the encryption on the other side being provided a VPN or some other third Party? Thanks.

  45. i have a ipad and i cant watch any thing from it is there any way around it please been told its a very good site cheers

  46. To be honest Hide my ass is still a decent VPN provider; heaps of locations, and so many features. Just don’t use their service for anything illegal (torrents, spamming, ddos..), perfectly fine if you just want to protect your traffic over public wifi or bypass geo-blocks.

  47. “When you are selling a service that claims to protect a users privacy, hence identity, you cant turn around later and reveal just that to authorities without appearing at least a little insincere”

    They are two very different things here.
    1. Hiding your details, IP, etc browsing websites safely and those sites genuinly do not know your details or your IP.
    2. You commit a crime and the proxy gives “authorities” your details.

    I’m glad they had them stored, and provided them. What if they plotted to murder someone, or worse…

    (btw, blocking mouse buttons on your site is very annoying. I can’t copy paste, activate my sepll cheker, I cant seem to use keyboard arrows in this comment box either, or do other things)

  48. Hi There,
    Here is one thing which astonished me quite a bit lately. I just got my first mac, and installed Skype, among other programs on it. When I was opening the Skype for the 1st time, Mac Os asked whether I want my contacts to be known to Skype. I said yes. And voila, all my cell contacts appeared on the mac screen.
    Now, I did not give to Apple any info about with exception of my cel # and credit card, but in both I use only initials of my name (not the whole name). So really, the phone # was likely sufficient for Apple to get my cell contact list – all without asking me for permission. Hmm… Now I am probably going to try to get my ex’s contacts as well… And perhaps, say, that of the judge who is presiding over our divorce proceedings, and perhaps the girl who lives next door as well. It can not be too difficult…

  49. @shanghaiGuy, I am wondering that if we have mentioned something on our website then why we will try to hide it? The link was given to let you read in detail ad we believe complete information could not be typed every time by the support executive and ma miss something so providing the link is best and it is for your favor. Read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use in order to get complete information.
    @andre, Could you please confirm did you get slow response over live chat, support ticket or email?
    Manager Customer Service & Support

  50. I use a VPN thats bought and paid for by a Burn card, my real ID is never associated with this account, i also go to places and connect to my VPN using free wifi, mostly places that dont now better, everything i do is encrypted, and the other end is encrypted also, password protected and more bits than i would really need, then i can use proxies that fluctuate every 5 minutes in the baltics, my Business is my Business, its no one elses, and never will be!!!!

  51. these vpn’s can little more than a trap to harvest all the very info you most want keep
    private. and why is breaking the law ok in repressive china or egypt and not a nealy as
    repressive usa and uk and it’s NSA’s. hma and are nothing more than patseys and
    money suckers. useless. advoid.

  52. No logs can help but still dont provide total anonimity. The VPN providers ISP still logs all connections. If you want to feel safe use I2P or tor, and even then you still can’t be sure your 100% anonymous because you may have a compromised node, but it is still better than a VPN who will give up your info to LE in a second. Don’t believe me? Search “Telecommunications data retention”

    • Maybe a good way of looking at it, is the degree of difficulty to identify a user. If you make it more difficult (hence costly in terms of money and/or time) it is less likely anyone will try. Using a VPN makes identifying you more difficult and using a no-log VPN makes it even more difficult still.

      The other side of the equation to consider is why would anyone want to identify you in the first place? I doubt that the nuts from the RIAA or MPAA will spend a lot of money to go after you if you just shared a few titles, but they may try if you are sharing thousands of movies or songs.

      Summarizing, consider using technology appropriate for what you are doing and trying to prevent; VPN, I2P and Tor aren’t perfect, but a good first step.

  53. I had an purevpn account and I contacted them asking about their logging policy. Guess what? they never replied to my email. After I sent them a few more emails, they finally got back to me with one line telling me to look for that information on their website myself. Why can’t they just tell me and answer my question directly??? So I went ahead and cancelled my subscription. Now i am in the market for a vpn again, but it is hard to find one that keeps no logs. Now I decided to setup my own VPN using Microsoft Azure. 🙂

    • Unfortunately I had the same experience with PureVPN, their customer service is slow to respond and then only sends these cryptic messages, apparently hoping that the user will figure it out. I setup my own VPN using Amazon before, but I found that to be rather tedious and not suitable for the average user. When you do get it setup it works well; however, I am not sure how secure it would really be. The only way to setup an account with Microsoft is to use a credit card, so they have at least that information. Besides all cloud services have backups…

    • Sadly Azure is NOT safe. Microsoft actively hands over information to local and federal law enforcment agencies, when the occasion occurs. So Azure NOT safe, it is monitored by Microsoft and every bit is heavily watched by many law enforcment agencies. Be careful what you are doing with Azure, because it might just screw you hard.

  54. When presented with a court order or National Security Letter (or non-US equivalent), services like this turn on IP logging and track you. Expecting them to defy their government when presented with such items is naive and irrational.

    • Charles, you are correct. Most VPN providers are small businesses and don’t have the resources to fight subpoenas or court orders, besides I am not sure that all of them actually have the will to do so. Not logging any information to begin with would be a good start. The real problem is the claim of anonymity, which is tough to guarantee. I strongly urge users to read the terms and condition and privacy statements of any provider they plan to sign up with.

    • Charles,

      I understand that a VPN will turn on what they have in their hands upon request of their national authorities. The problem is when they claim to not keep logs but do. I would rather trust a VPN that clearlly specify that they keep logs and will provide information upon subpoena rather than lying to me. A question of trust I guess. At least, then you know what to expect and you know whether the services the VPN offers you suits your needs or not. If they lied on this matter, how do we know that tomorrow they will not deliver information to China political dissident or just selling all information regarding their users to marketing companies ?

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