HotSpot Shield: College Students Can Get Free VPN And $50,000 In Scholarships

AnchorFree is launching its popular VPN service HotSpot Shield on iPad, giving college students a chance to use HotSpot Shield for free, and sweetening the deal with $50,000 in scholarship money.

HotSpot Shield is a Virtual Private Network service, which allows more secure Internet connections, across all platforms –– Mac, PC, iOS and Android. Users on HotSpot Shield can rest easy sending their private data across the public networks we all increasingly rely on, which is especially important as rates of cybercrime and identity theft continue to rise.

AnchorFree’s Vice President of Marketing James Ryan said that the service is particularly vital for college students, who use more public and shared Wi-Fi networks than most groups, and are also targeted more frequently in cybercrimes.

“College students are a very vulnerable population,” Ryan said. “A) They are using the Internet much more. They are typically using public Wi-Fi a lot more, either their college Wi-Fi, their dorm Wi-Fi or their local coffee shop. Young people are at higher risk from identity thieves, because they typically don’t have a work history. They don’t have much of a credit history. So it’s a lot easier to kind of steal their identity and create a new identity on that because there’s not a big history there that will raise a red flag.”

That’s where the VPN comes in. A VPN allows one computer to connect remotely and securely to another, hiding any traffic in between from cyber snoopers and putting all the data processing on the remote computer, which you are supposed to be able to trust.

That trust is what AnchorFree is offering with HotSpot Shield. This type of security was once reserved for major corporations, with security concerns and the resources to pay for an entire staff to manage the technical work behind VPN technology. AnchorFree nows wants to offer that security to people without all those resources.

HotSpot Shield has been popular in its ad-supported free version, and also with HotSpot Shield Elite eliminating the ads for $29.95 per month.

Now AnchorFree is hoping to offer it to people with even fewer resources, college students. Anyone with a student’s .edu email address, or the UK equivalent, is now able to sign up for a year of free VPN service.

AnchorFree also is giving away $50,000 in scholarships, broken up into $5,000 prizes for 10 people, from April 1 to June 9. Three will be given out randomly, and the remaining seven will be split among students at the college campus that has the most students sign up.

Worst case scenario: you get protection against identity theft on public networks. Best case: you and six of your classmates could get $5,000 towards your tuition, which could do almost as much to preserve your credit score.

The contest also coincides with the company's new native app being launched for iPad.

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