Blog Post

Secure iPhone Browsing

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

If you’re a security nut, browsing at a public hotspot can be like showering in a public bathroom. You might have no other option, depending on your circumstances, but you’re bound to feel a little creeped out and you’d probably rather have some flip flops on. Think of Hotspot Shield as flip-flops for your computer. And now for your iPhone, too.

AnchorFree’s Hotspot Shield for computers installs a client on your desktop or notebook that sets up a virtual private network, helping to ensure that you stay anonymous and secure while browsing. Hotspot Shield for iPhone employs the same concept, minus the client, allowing you to browse securely from your mobile device.

I’ve used Hotspot Shield with my MacBook before, and found little cause for complaint. There are some hiccups when streaming large media, and an ad is displayed at the top of your window, though Hotspot Shield itself is free.

Hotspot Shield for iPhone is also a free service, although it does require registering an account with AnchorFree. Registering is incredibly painless, however, you just click a button and receive your account name and password.

You also have to change your VPN settings on the iPhone. Make sure your Wi-Fi is off, and go to Settings > General > Network > VPN, and then click Add VPN Configuration. At this screen, you’ll have to enter the following information:

  • Select the L2TP tab/pane (selected by default)
  • Description: HotspotShield
  • Server:
  • Account: <your account name>
  • RSA SecurID: OFF
  • Password: <your password>
  • Secret: password
  • Send all traffic: ON

Save settings and turn Wi-Fi back on. According to AnchorFree, you may have to power cycle your device to get the settings to take effect if you experience connection errors.

Once set up, you will be shielded from prying eyes by a VPN connection between your device and the 3G or wireless network to which you are connected. AnchorFree claims that you are 100% secure behind Hotspot Shield, ensuring that no hackers can gain access to your emails, credit card or banking information, sensitive documents, or whatever else you may have stored on your device.

Hotspot Shield is clearly aimed at business users, but anyone who doesn’t relish the thought of strangers coveting their personal information will enjoy the peace of mind it brings.

26 Responses to “Secure iPhone Browsing”

  1. Michael

    The service is far from stable. Yesterday was a ‘no connection day’ however, this morning it connected on the first try, then off, later afternoon back on, etc.

    the other issue is that it isnt effective at all on such sites as TV.COM (for the iphone). I still got the ‘your are not in the US message’

  2. Well i am trying it atm but…. so far nothing just says: The connection has failed. Please Verify your settings and try again.
    So any idea what to do? rebooted like 5 times atm

  3. I agree – useless. It works ok on the desktop/laptop not on iPod touch 2d gen or iphone. I always get “the connection has failed. Please verify your settings and try again.” even after powering off and on my device and after following religiously their guidelines.

  4. It’s not working. I tried to make it works at least six times, faithfully followin the instructions and NOTHING happens. The server is not responding. DO NOT LOSE YOUR TIME.

  5. rohit, thanks for your suggestion, however, after following your instructions, i am still getting the same error message. i did notice that after i created the vpn settings and went back into it, the “secret” field was blank.

    i am having someone else try to create a vpn connection on her iphone and will update everyone with her results.

  6. Rohit mehra

    As for the ipsec secret missing error turn wifi off then del the current vnp settings and create new settings again save them and then restart wifi and try to connect should work

  7. Rohit mehra

    Just can’t connect the error returned is “the server is not responding try another server ” as no other server is listed I just cannot connect evin after multiple reboots.

  8. i followed the instructions, but each time i try to connect i get this error message:

    The IPSec Shared Secret is missing. Please verify your settings and try again.

    i went back to the config and sure enough, the “secret” field is missing. anyone else have this problem?