In our quest to provide you with Internet security programs – especially the ones that protect your privacy and data when online, we keep reviewing free solutions. Here is a review of Steganos Online Shield 365 free version. Though I was offered a serial key to test the full version, I did not use it as I wished to check out how it performs in the free version.
We have already stated that Spotflux stands at number 2 in our list of privacy software for the year 2012-2013. Since SpotFlux is a free VPN with data protection and IP masking, we are testing only the free versions of different software and comparing them with SpotFlux. The link to our list of best free privacy software is available towards the end of this review of Steganos Shield.
Steganos Online Shield 365 review
A solution for those looking out for effective online privacy freeware, Steganos Shield anonymizes & masks your IP address to a different global location. Your IP would change to countries like UK, USA, Switzerland, France & Germany. This free software helps you safeguard your identity from potential power centers that are always on a lookout to jeopardize your online.
I am yet to establish if this can be effective in cases of ICMS – Internet Content Monitoring System. I guess if they (the Feds) make random data packet checks, the IP would be untraceable. But if they are tracking at ISP level, this cannot be much helpful. I will cover ICMS and workarounds in a different article – after a little more research.
Steganos Online Shield – Does It Work As Promised?
Upon activating the shield as shown in the above screenshot, it changed my IP address to somewhere in North Carolina. You get a screen as above when the connection is not secure. To secure it – that is to use the encryption etc facilities – you simply need to click a button. That done, it stated my connection was encrypted and secure (as shown in screenshot below). Now, that felt good!
To ensure this, I checked the details of my IP address from www.whatismyipaddress.com. My IP was now located in the South Carolina region! This also means that with this anonymous IP, one can easily access the online services which are not accessible in their respective country!
Plus Points of Steganos Online Shield free version
- Free is always a plus
- Simple to use – just one click to turn the protection ON or OFF
- Proxy works!
- This part is a little confusing and I need to be convinced about the claims of “strong” encryption. The speed of browsing is not much affected. I wonder what that means! For most of the VPNs, browsing slows down considerably. Either Steganos is pretty good or the encryption algorithms are bit weak. Another reason could be not many people using the service. I will leave this to someone from the company to explain. Please note that is my personal observation and could differ from yours.
Negatives We Noticed in Steganos Online Shield 365 free version
Some of the negatives I faced while using Online Stegonas Shield 365 are listed below:
- The first thing is that you get only 500MB of data in the free version meaning you will be restricted to smaller tasks if you intend to use it for entire month without having to upgrade.
- There were instances where the software dropped connections as shown in the screenshot below.
- You are asked to upgrade on every screen. Instead, that could be just an option in the tray icon. Right now, to close the screens, you have to click “Decide Later” and it is quite irritating! For the first use, it took a considerable period of time to decide where to click and close the screen.
As per my experience, Steganos Online Shield 365 free version is good for personal use. It offers protection for 500MB per month. It does solve the purpose of anonymous surfing, offering worldwide locations and thus protecting your privacy online. Probably, the speed of browsing also depends upon computer configuration and broadband bandwidth so I won’t compare this to SpotFlux on that factor. This does drop connections – something that may give away original IP addresses. Check it out and do let us know what you experience!
Steganos Online Shield 365 download
You can download Steganos Online Shield 365 freeware version here.
PS: We did not include Steganos in the above list of Internet security products, as the doubts regarding encryption strength are yet to be cleared. Also, the issue of connection dropping in Steganos Online Shield has to addressed. That done, probably we’ll update the list accordingly!
UPDATE: Here is An Update from Steganos Executive on The Speed Issue
“Reason is that we use the “OpenVPN-Standard Blowfish-CBC”, 128 Bit encryption. We are faster because we handle our Load-Balancing very smart. Users are forwarded to the less used server automatically. We are planning to switch to AES system with 256 bit encryption for the next version.