App of the Week: Hotspot Shield VPN

Image credit: AnchorFree

App Name: Hotspot Shield VPN

Price: Free

Available Platforms: iOS, Android and Desktop

What does this app do? There are more than six billion mobile users across the globe, which means a lot of people are accessing wireless networks, many of them unsecured. Malware, phishing and spamming are among the threats to privacy and identities that mobile users should be aware of as they traffic the Internet sending emails, logging on to websites and downloading videos. Therefore, knowing how to protect your identity as you navigate wireless networks is a must.

That is where security app Hotspot Shield VPN comes in. The app creates a secure virtual private network, a VPN, through which users can browse the Internet safely, log on to websites, and open and download content. Created by the Silicon Valley-based company AnchorFree, Hotspot Shield VPN works to protect your wireless data by replacing the IP address of your mobile device with its own U.S.-based IP address.

In essence, it turns the "http" into an "https," said David Gorodyansky, CEO of AnchorFree.

"Everything becomes as secure as your banking site," Gorodyansky added.

Additionally, the app will compress data, such as photos and text, thereby saving users on aggravation and money when their connection is slow or they want to avoid those pesky roaming charges. One feature Gorodyansky emphasized was the advantage it provides to U.S. users overseas. Because Hotspot Shield replaces the VPN with its own U.S. IP address, the app allows people to view websites that may otherwise be restricted in other countries.

RELATED: 10 Tips to Protect Yourself Online

Is it easy to install?: Once you download the app, allow it to access your IP address. Hotspot Shield works in the background to protect your VPN. For a paid version, you will need to register an account online.

Should I try it?: Yes, the app will protect you from phishing and spammers and will save you money, too. We tested this in beta and barely noticed it at work. Hotspot Shield VPN offers a free, seven-day trial, and provides a few payment subscriptions ranging from $0.99 to $19.99.