VPN use and data privacy stats for 2016

Published October 24, 2016   |   

We presented a host of survey findings regarding vital internet trends in a previous article. We hope you found it useful!

Yet at our core, we want our readers up-to-date on the latest information regarding vpn use and data security. So, this article assimilates many of the most up-to-date survey findings involving these topics and more.

Data privacy

2016 is proving to be a watershed year in terms of public focus on data privacy issues. These issues have.

Data privacy vs national security

In a troubling development for privacy advocates, the majority of Americans thought Apple should have unlocked the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone.

About half say Apple should unlock terror suspect's iphone

This reflects a general trend. Americans are currently worried their government isn’t doing enough on the cyber front to deal with terrorism.

Public's shifting concern on security and civil liberities

Rising concerns about businesses and data use

More than 95% of Americans surveyed in a recent poll said they were either somewhat concerned or very concerned about how companies use their data.

Consumer data privacy concerns rising rapidly

Ad blocking continues to grow

Internet giants like Apple and Google contend that they collect customer data to customize ads for their users. However, the data shows internet users are growing so frustrated with ads that they are employing ad blockers in record numbers.

Global Ad blocking growth

Summary of these data privacy statistics

Taken together, these charts demonstrate the increasing need of both consumers and businesses to focus on cybersecurity even more than they already do.

This focus will be complicated, however, by an increasingly polarized political environment both in the U.S. and around the world.

After all, it’s up to governments to make and enforce data protection laws. At the same time, many of these governments are actively seeking legal means to violate data protection measures.

VPN use

Of course, VPN use and data privacy have strong correlations. By accessing a separate server for internet use, VPNs make it much more difficult for hackers and/or 3rd parties to track online activities. The following charts examine the current state of VPN use around the globe.

Top markets for VPN use

Asia and the Middle East continue to dominate the VPN market.

Thai and Indonesia internet users most likely to access content via VPNs

VPN use frequency

The majority of people who employ a VPN do so at least once a week.

Frequency of VPN usage

Anonymous browsing

Anonymous browsing is a major reason for VPN use, especially in Saudi Arabia, India, and Vietnam.

VPN usage for anonymous browsing

Accessing Netflix

Another main driver for VPN use is access to streaming content. For example, almost 30% of all VPN users accessed Netflix in a given month.

29% of VPN users accessing Netflix

Summary of VPN use stats

The market for internet privacy continues to grow, led by the same global regions as recent years. In addition, access to streaming content continues to be a major motivator for VPN users, despite the claims of Netflix that they represent a small section of its overall user base.

Data breaches

The most recent numbers show a continuing trend of increased data breaches around the world.

Records of reports breached

Online privacy threats

According to the U.S. government, identity theft is the largest cybercrime concern in the U.S.

Major concerns related to online privacy and security risks


Cyber crimes continue to evolve. As shown in the following charts, the amount of breaches remains high and the challenges for both consumers and businesses to protect against evolving threats are manifold.

Households reporting online security breaches by number of different types of devices used

Cyber crime fears create major online behavior changes

The threat of identity theft and other cyber crimes has caused almost 30% of all U.S. Internet users to avoid conducting financial transactions online at one time or another during 2015.

Online activities avoided due to privacy or security concerns by selected groups

Cyber crime against businesses and organizations

For businesses and professional organizations, the threat of cybercrimes far out-distances their preparedness to deal with an attack. In fact, 63% of businesses do not have a fully operable incidence response plan.

Cyber crime against business and organisations

The challenges of protecting online privacy

There is a myriad of reasons why data privacy protection often fails.

The challenges of protecting online privacy

The zero-day vulnerability

The threat of zero-day vulnerabilities has grown 125% since 2013. In this type of attack, hackers discover, launch, and exploit an attack on the same day, well ahead of any security measure even detecting a problem.

New zero-day vulnerability discovered every week in 2015

Ransomeware continues to evolve

Recent years have seen a major shift in the way hackers launch ransomeware attacks. In 2008, it was done almost exclusively by misleading apps. In 2015, however, the primary method is crypto-ransomware.

Crypto-ransomware compromises the endpoint through:

    • Spam
  • Direct download
  • Malvertising
  • Malware and botnets

Crypto Ransomware as percentage of all ransomware

Summary of cyber crime stats

With threats such as zero-day vulnerabilities and ransomeware attacks growing more powerful and sophisticated, consumers’ online behaviors will continue to be adversely affected. Additionally, as more households acquire more devices, the risk for successful attacks will increase.

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