Increase the security of your wireless connections and bypass international blocks of websites by downloading Hotspot Shield. The program connects you to the Hotspot Shield virtual private network (VPN) located in the US potentially getting you around regional blocks of popular websites.

Netflix for example doesn’t allow users to access their “play now” feature which lets you watch movies in your queue on your PC. A connection through the Hotspot Shield VPN will trick this and many other websites into thinking you’re located in the US.

This hack didn’t work for me each time and the connections were less than stable, but tolerable for the most part. Hotspot Shield also purports to give you “unbreakable” secure wireless access but doesn’t tell you how. If you’re connecting through a fairly reputable wireless connection (like an airport or T-Mobile hot spot) most of your important data like passwords will already be encrypted by the websites you visit.

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Avoid any computer-to-computer networks and keep your online accounts safe at Internet cafes with these 12 applications you can run from a USB drive. The advertisement heavy Hotspot Shield is a free download, for both PC and Mac.

Thanks Felipe!

EDITED [5/31]: Hotspot Shield works for both PC and Mac and is Lifehacker’s featured download today.