The number of internet users worldwide has surpassed the 5 billion mark, and with this growth comes an increase in incidents of internet hacking and data breaches. In 2021, consumers in the United States alone lost nearly $6 billion to online scams, and the global e-commerce sector saw online fraud exceeding $48 billion in 2022. As a result, the use of global Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) has become increasingly popular as a means of avoiding such scams. In fact, the popularity of VPNs has risen to the point where 31 percent of all internet users worldwide now utilize them to access, connect, and secure various sites and content. This popularity extends beyond individual users, with many corporations and business organizations also adopting VPNs in their day-to-day operations.
Overview of VPN
A Virtual Private Network, commonly known as VPN, is a secure, encrypted connection that enables the secure sharing of information over a public network. It allows users to access the internet while keeping their identity hidden, providing protection to their online activities and data from surveillance and hacking. VPNs are widely used by businesses and organizations, as well as individual users, who require a more secure way of accessing essential resources and information.
According to a report by Cybercrime Magazine, the global economy of cybercrime is worth $6 trillion, making it the third-largest economy after the US and China. By 2025, global losses due to cybercrime are projected to exceed $10 trillion, growing at a rate of 15 percent per year. The increasing use of digital devices and the internet in our daily lives has contributed to this trend, with people spending more time on social media, visiting various websites, and using apps for personal and work-related purposes. However, the collection and sale of personal information by these platforms have led to an increase in cybercrime and data breaches at the organizational level.
According to IBM’s 2022 Cost of Data Breach report, the average global loss at the organizational level due to each data breach is over $4.3 million. Additionally, incidents like phishing, ransomware, and online scams are also increasing at the personal level. Consequently, the popularity of VPNs is on the rise, as they offer a way to mitigate these risks and protect users’ online privacy.
Another reason behind the increasing popularity of VPNs is internet censorship, which affects over 4 billion people in 32 countries around the world. Governments in countries like Russia, India, and Iran have implemented measures such as total internet shutdowns and bans on various social media or messaging apps, leading to the widespread use of VPNs to avoid these problems.
As per a report by Research And Markets, the global VPN market was estimated to be approximately $45 billion in 2022, with a projected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 15 percent, expected to exceed $137 billion by 2030. The Global VPN Adoption Index indicates that the number of VPN applications downloaded reached more than 277 million across 85 countries in 2020, and is projected to reach 785 million in 2021. However, the number dropped by more than half to 353 million in 2022.
The UAE leads in VPN adoption with an adoption rate of over 43 percent, followed by Qatar and Singapore with adoption rates of 39 percent and 37 percent, respectively. Surfshark data suggests that 31 percent (1.6 billion) of the global internet user population uses VPNs, of which 54 percent are men. More than 39 percent of VPNs globally are used for work purposes, and the rest are used for security, gaming, travel, and privacy purposes.
Numerous VPN software is available in various app stores. However, Symlex VPN is a Bangladeshi VPN service provider. Symlex VPN, launched in 2019, offers military-grade encryption to protect personal information while browsing the internet and maintain anonymity. Symlex VPN’s No Log policy ensures that the user’s browsing activity and personal information are not stored, thereby reducing the possibility of theft of user data. This VPN provides a faster and more reliable internet connection with more than 100 servers in over 75 locations worldwide, enabling users to access their favorite content, movies, or TV series from any part of the world without any geo-restriction or bandwidth limitation.
Symlex VPN is an effective solution to securely access any blocked website, social media, or messaging app. The VPN supports Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS, and Premium subscription users can enjoy all app features on up to 5 devices simultaneously. Furthermore, Symlex VPN’s ad-blocking service enhances the user’s internet browsing experience by blocking annoying ads.
Although the possibility of a cyber attack is comparatively lower on the home Internet as compared to public places such as universities or restaurants, personal information can still be stolen from the home Internet. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) possess the capability to access all types of user browsing activity. Consequently, ISPs can track when, where, and how much time a user spends on a website or application on their device. Additionally, ISPs can also access and save private browsing history, including information from Incognito Mode. This data is then sold by ISPs to advertisers or marketers, and it can also be shared with entities such as data mining companies or governments.
Organizations such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft track all user activity online, analyzing it and selling behavioral data to advertisers without directly selling individual user data. In contrast, ISPs use technologies like deep-packet inspection to collect all user activity and sell it in bulk to data mining companies. This implies that everything from users’ activities on the internet to their personal information, banking and financial data, and important passwords may be vulnerable to data miners.
In addition, user information is tracked and stored by organizations like Facebook, Google, and the apps used every day or visited websites, which makes them frequent victims of hacking and data breaches. A VPN encrypts a user’s internet connection, making it impossible for ISPs or other websites and applications to track individual users. Thus, apart from the home environment, using a VPN while using the internet in restaurants or other public places provides security against incidents such as data breaches and hacking. Consequently, the popularity of VPNs as a means to safeguard personal information privacy is continually growing.
In the present era of ubiquitous connectivity, utilizing public WiFi has become an everyday practice. Whether in hotel rooms, airports, coffee shops, or restaurants, individuals now rely on free WiFi services. However, accessing such open networks can expose users to security threats such as cyberattacks, identity theft, and malware infiltration. Additionally, if users access their office’s communication tools, files, or email via public networks, the organization’s network may also be vulnerable to potential risks.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides a secure and encrypted connection to the Internet, allowing users to connect to company networks from public networks such as homes or restaurants/coffee shops, especially in the context of remote work. With complete encryption and remote hosting, any device can connect to the organization’s network without the risk of data breaches. Even if there is a security breach, hackers are unable to access certain files due to encryption. Furthermore, numerous VPNs offer access control features, preventing employees from accessing confidential information.
Moreover, VPNs play a pivotal role in ensuring online banking and secure transactions, while also thwarting unauthorized data tracking.
Restriction Free Access
Unrestricted internet accessibility is a major driving force behind the growing usage of virtual private networks (VPNs). Governments in various countries often impose bans on websites, social media platforms, and applications within their borders. For instance, India has banned more than 250 apps including TikTok, WeChat, and Shareit, while popular social media websites like Facebook and Twitter are blocked in countries such as China, Iran, and North Korea.
Moreover, community forum sites like Reddit are banned in Bangladesh, and several countries in the Middle East restrict messaging and VoIP calling apps such as Messenger and WhatsApp. VPNs are the sole means of accessing these banned websites, social media platforms, and apps.
Furthermore, internet service providers (ISPs) intentionally slow down internet speeds in certain cases, leading to buffering issues while viewing content on various websites or playing online games. By utilizing a VPN, users can bypass ISP speed restrictions and watch content without experiencing any buffering issues or lag-free gaming. Additionally, torrent sites are banned in numerous countries across the world, and VPNs provide users with the opportunity to download content like movies, TV series, music, software, and games from these sites while maintaining anonymity.
Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Spotify employ geo-blocking technology to restrict access to specific content in certain locations. However, Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a highly effective solution that enables users to enjoy all types of content without any restrictions. By altering the user’s IP location, VPN enables users to bypass geo-location-based restrictions of streaming platforms and enjoy their desired content from anywhere in the world. Furthermore, the use of a VPN to conceal location information and ensure anonymous internet activity offers numerous advantages in online shopping, particularly in the purchase of air travel tickets. Airlines and subscription services often charge varying rates based on location, making VPN use increasingly prevalent worldwide. As a result, the use of VPN in online shopping and subscription purchases has the added benefit of reducing extra charges and achieving cost savings.