Global VPN usage has spiked amidst coronavirus outbreak. Here’s why.

Almost 40 percent of the world is now at home taking shelter from the coronavirus or COVID-19.

But for some unlucky few – myself included – work still goes on. Many businesses have moved to a work-from-home approach to continue operating during these troubling times.

In a report sent to us by ExpressVPN, it showed that Virtual Private Networks (VPN) usage has gone up around the Asia Pacific region.

VPN allows you to mask your location, making it harder for hackers to infiltrate your internet network and potentially steal or monitor what’s on your computer.

Consumers use VPNs to hide from websites that might track their data, while companies use it to secure connections to their main servers.

IMAGE: ExpressVPN

The report shows that Philippines has the highest growth in Asia Pacific with a 27 percent increase in users, followed by Singapore at 11 percent.

The average users around the world have also gone up. Vice president of ExpressVPN Harold Li said, “We are seeing strong demand in our services as more people spend more time indoors and employees around the world telework. Beyond using a VPN, we encourage users to practice good cybersecurity habits while working remotely.”

We asked Li what could have led to the sudden spike in users:

Why are people using VPN more now that everyone is at home? What’s the difference if people were in the office?

To protect their data security and employee privacy, businesses are putting in measures to ensure traffic is properly encrypted, including ensuring that cloud services are connected to over HTTPS/HSTS only and using a reputable VPN to encrypt all data being transmitted to and from employee devices.

That’s why small businesses often rely on consumer VPNs like ours, especially as more companies deploy remote-working policies recently. In fact, we were named the top VPN Service for Work in PC Magazine’s Business Choice Awards 2019.

Do they have reasons for subscribing to a VPN service?

VPNs can be used to access geo-restricted content, shield your browsing activity from prying eyes on unsecured Wi-Fi, and more. As users around the world spend more time at home, we understand that our service becomes even important during this period.

Are they subscribing to a VPN service to watch movies and TV series from streaming services that are not available in their respective countries?

As a privacy-focused company, we don’t collect any data on our users’ network activity or behavior and can’t point to specific reasons why people are using our service. According to a 2017 study of VPN users by GlobalWebIndex, 55 percent in APAC use VPNs to access better entertainment content.

The last question might benefit many of you who are stuck at home due to the lockdown/movement control.

Amazon, YouTube join Netflix in reducing stream quality in EU during coronavirus pandemic

It’s true that you can use a VPN service to access Netflix shows which are usually not available in your region.

If you know a show that you’re keen to watch but it’s not in your region, you could use a VPN to mask your network as if you’re connecting to the streaming site from another country where the show is available.

ExpressVPN has mentioned countless times that their service works with all streaming sites like Disney+, Amazon, and Hulu. There have been ads lately featuring famous YouTube users marketing VPNs.

If you’re looking into trying out a VPN, you can get it as a free trial from a referral link posted by some YouTube channels.

Or claim ExpressVPN’s 49 percent discount coupon for a 12-month subscription here.

Stay safe at home and on the internet!

Follow Mashable SEA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Cover image sourced from HowStuffWorks.