The global COVID-19 outbreak has led to a surge in VPN usage according to Atlas VPN. The company published data from their 50,000 weekly users and during the weeks from March 2-8 and March 9-15 and, as Statista's Niall McCarthy points out, it shows a steep rise in VPN usage in countries dealing with significant outbreaks.
In Italy where there were close to 25,000 cases and more than 1,800 deaths on March 16, VPN use climbed 112 percent during the two weekly periods mentioned above. Likewise in Iran, it climbed 38 percent.
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Even in countries with fewer cases, VPN popularity has increased. For example, the United States had 3,802 confirmed cases at the start of this week while VPN usage climbed 53 percent over the course of the past week. In countries experiencing lockdowns in a bid to slow COVID-19's spread, there have also been increases. In Spain, usage grew 36 percent while it climbed 29 percent in Germany and 21 percent in France.
Atlas VPN attributes the growth to more people staying at home due to lockdowns, quarantines and social distancing. In most countries dealing with significant outbreaks, schools and malls remain closed while employees are being encouraged to work from home. That has resulted in more people spending their time online with some availing of VPN services to access geoblocked streaming content. Most companies also only allow their employees to work via a VPN connection to ensure the safety of their files and avoid hacking.