The global COVID-19 outbreak has led to a surge in VPN usage around the world, particularly since the beginning of March when more and more countries experienced a jump in new infections.
That’s according to Atlas VPN who derived data from their 50,000 weekly users during the weeks from March 2-8 and March 9-15. In Italy, which had 24,747 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,809 deaths as of yesterday, VPN usage increased by 112% between those two weeks. Iran is another badly affected country with just under 14,000 cases confirmed yesterday and a 38% rise in VPN usage during the above period.
Even though many other countries currently have a far lower number of cases, they are also seeing increases in VPN usage. For example, the United States had 3,802 confirmed COVID-19 cases yesterday while VPN usage grew 53% over the course of the past week. Other countries that have initiated lockdowns in a bid to slow the spread of the virus have also seen their rates increase. In Spain, VPN usage climbed 36% while it went up 29% in Germany and 21% in France.
Atlas VPN attributed the growth to an increase in people staying at home due to lockdowns and quarantines. In most countries dealing with serious outbreaks, schools and malls are closed, large public gatherings are banned and employees are being encouraged to work remotely. That has resulted in people spending more time than usual on the internet which has seen people avail of VPNs to access geo-blocked streaming services and content. Companies that are allowing their employees to work from home generally also use VPNs to ensure their files are completely protected and safe from hacking.