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Hola VPN Chrome extension removed from Web Store because it might contain malware

Hola VPN Chrome Extension

Two days ago, on the 14th of September, the Google Chrome extension for the popular free VPN service Hola VPN was removed from the Chrome Store, the reason for this being that the extension “might contain malware”. It is currently unknown whether actual malware has been involved with the extension and whether that is the real reason behind it getting taken down from the Chrome Store.

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Hola VPN Extension

There is a lengthy official statement from Hola VPN in which this issue is addressed. According to the statement, the developers of the VPN service are currently in the dark with regard to why their extension was taken down from the Google Chrome Store, and they are trying to contact Google and work with them towards solving this issue.

Does Hola VPN Contains Malware?

Hola VPN assures its customers that their extension contains no malware and meets (or even exceeds) all the security and privacy policy requirements and guidelines that the Google Chrome Store has. The developers of the VPN also add that no significant changes have been made to their extension that may have led to the sudden change in how the Chrome Store perceives the latter. The only changes made to the extension have been “cosmetic” (e.g. changed graphics and text).

At the moment of writing, the other Chrome extensions developed by Hola – Hola ad Remover and Hola Video Accelerator are available in the Chrome Store and there doesn’t seem to be any problem with them. Thus far, Google hasn’t released an official statement that addresses the exact reason for taking down the Hola VPN extension from the Chrome Store.

Is it really malware?

Some users who have had the Hola extension and have received a warning from Chrome that it may be infected with malware before the extension got removed from their browser have expressed their concern about the safety of their computers on online forums. If you are in a similar situation and are worried that your computer may be infected because you used to have the Hola extension in your Chrome browser, there’s probably no reason for concern – when the context of the situation is taken into account, it seems that the likelihood of the Hola VPN extension being involved with actual malware is rather low. It’s far more likely that a bug in the extension or some piece of code that is in contradiction with the Chrome Store policies is what has caused Google to flag it as a potential threat. Still, if this doesn’t take away your worry, and you wish to ensure that your computer is safe, you can take a look at one of the guides linked below (pick the one written for the device and OS you have) and follow their instructions to clean your computer/phone and browser from any potentially unwanted or hazardous data/software.

Removal guide for Windows PC

Removal guide for macOS

Removal guide for Android

Removal guide for iOS/iPadOS

On the other hand, if you’re annoyed by the fact that you are unable to use the Hola VPN extension in your Chrome browser, you can still download and use the Hola desktop client and/or you can download its extension for other popular browsers such as Opera or Microsoft Edge (if you have any of those browsers).

We’ve reached out to the Hola VPN, asking them to provide us with their take on the issue and any additional information they could provide us with, and we’ll update this post if we get a reply.

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