VPN Usage in US Quadruples

Written by

American usage of VPNs has increased by four times since 2010, according to a new study published today by American cybersecurity company PC Matic.

Researchers found that in 2010, only 1.57% of Americans were using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) compared to 6.26% in 2019.

From 2010 through 2017, the usage of VPNs remained fairly consistent, hovering at round 1.6%. However, the networks have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years. VPN usage in the US grew from 2.40% in 2017 to 3.77% in 2018 before surging to 6.25% in 2019. 

Virtual Private Networks were initially created as a way for employees to work remotely. PC Matic Researchers said that today VPNs are being used in a different way. 

Researchers wrote: "VPNs were first developed to allow work-from-home employees to access company applications and files. However, over time individuals began using VPNs for personal use, to increase their security while using public networks. Since a VPN replaces a device’s IP address with one within the VPN service and also encrypts transmitted data, it adds an additional layer of security and privacy for online communications."

The use of personal VPNs has increased significantly. In 2010, only 0.13% of endpoints had a personal VPN installed, but by the end of the decade, personal VPN use had increased 3,477% to 4.65%.

Researchers linked the growth in VPN usage to an increased desire for privacy and security, especially while using public WiFi.

"Individuals need to ensure what they’re doing online is secure, specifically while they are using public WiFi connections like those found in airports, restaurants, coffee shops, and other public facilities. The use of a VPN while on public networks leaves the integrity of the data transmitted uncompromised by encrypting all transmitted data; meaning it cannot be read by others on the public network," wrote researchers.

Back in 2010, the most widely used commercial Virtual Private Network was CiscoVPN. In 2019, OpenVPN had the lion's share of the commercial VPN market, followed by Cisco, Sophos, Pure, and WatchGuard. 

While Cyberghost was the biggest personal VPN provider in 2010, in 2019 that title went to NordVPN.

What’s hot on Infosecurity Magazine?