Skip to content

In times of global unrest and conflict, VPN usage spikes

Historically speaking, the uprisings of the Arab Spring of 2011 marked a watershed moment for protest movements everywhere. Citizens were able to organize large-scale protests using recently available digital tools, and the wave of discontent quickly crossed national boundaries. In addition, this was the first time the internet had ever gone dark.

Now, 11 years later, governments around the world routinely shut down the internet and block access to social media in order to silence protesters and conceal human rights abuses.

However, people everywhere have figured out how to defend themselves. Additionally, modern computing is always the solution. This is why the best VPN services and other forms of security software have become the common man's go-to weapon in times of conflict.

In response to the ongoing protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iranian morality police, we recently witnessed a rise in demand for virtual private networks (VPNs) among Iranians. The use of virtual private networks (VPNs) increased by more than a factor of three.

Nonetheless, 2022 has seen a worldwide increase in VPN downloads beginning in January, possibly never before seen. We've summarized the major points below.

Internet blackouts, censorship, and cyberattacks have all been very common in recent months. As a result, people all over the world are increasingly using VPNs to access restricted content and maintain online anonymity.

With Facebook being blocked in Myanmar at the start of the year, the country saw a massive increase in the number of downloads for a tool that could help users access the social media site. Even though the digital dictatorship in this country has been working to make VPNs illegal, demand has increased.

The increase in Kazakhstan was much larger than this. As mobile internet access was disrupted due to anti-government protests, demand for virtual private networks (VPNs) increased by about 3,400% on January 5.

In April, Sri Lanka also experienced an unprecedented spike of more than 17,000%. Seeing as how VPNs render such restrictions "completely useless," the government was forced to lift its social media ban in response.

When the conflict in Ukraine escalated in early March, it threw people's online worlds out of whack. So, the region's demand for VPNs has reached an all-time high due to the region's severe online censorship and the rise in cybercrime.

VPN downloads in Russia kept rising, eventually reaching a peak of almost 2,700% growth. As the Kremlin tightened its grip on the internet, blocking many domestic and international news outlets, this is hardly a surprise.

Since the conflict began, demand in Ukraine has increased by more than 600%. To further their efforts to help journalists working in the country, many services even offered free subscriptions.

Due to new internet regulations, many platforms in Indonesia, including PayPal and Twitter, were blocked in July, leading to a 196% increase in the month.

During the same month, as citizens took to the streets to protest the country's dire economic situation, the number of VPN downloads in Cuba skyrocketed. Additional Psiphon downloads totaled over 34,000.

An uptick in the use of security software in the region has been attributed to the recent military conflict on the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Since the fighting began on September 14, VPN downloads in Azerbaijan have increased by a factor of 750. On the other hand, VPN usage in Armenia increased by 84% month over month in September.

A virtual private network, or VPN, is a type of secure connection that encrypts your data in transit and masks your online identity by redirecting your traffic through a different server.

In the event of a total internet blackout, virtual private networks are useless, but they are indispensable for accessing restricted content online.

Conflict tends to increase the prevalence of cybercrime. It's possible that authorities will step up their online surveillance of protesters. In this case, having access to a dependable VPN service is critical for protecting your privacy online and thwarting the efforts of prying governments and hackers.

Notably, VPN access may be blocked in countries with authoritarian governments. In order to avoid being blocked, it is essential to use a service that is built in with obfuscation technology. A kill switch and split tunneling are two additional forms of security that should be considered, along with a stringent no-logs policy.