- According to AtlastVPN’s study, the shift to remote working methods has resulted in a huge increase in the use of VPNs.
- Cybercrime has been and continues to rise, with VPNs becoming an increasingly significant tool for Blackhat hackers and cybercriminals.
According to a report by MediaNama, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has suggested banning Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) due to the rising threat from the cyber realm.
Noting that VPN services allow “criminals to stay anonymous online,” the committee has proposed enlisting India’s internet service providers to enforce the ban, adding that “a coordination system should also be created with overseas organisations to ensure that these VPNs are blocked permanently.”
What is VPN?
A VPN is an online tool that allows users to connect to a private network using a public internet connection, therefore ensuring privacy and anonymity. A VPN, in effect, masks a user’s IP address, preventing anyone from tracing and snooping on his or her internet activity. VPN connections are highly secured, so users can be confident that the data they send or receive is safe from prying eyes.
Why the ban may cause problems for Indian Companies
The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled Indian companies to modify their work cultures, particularly through the adoption of work-from-home models. The shift to remote working methods has resulted in a significant increase in the usage of VPNs, according to an AtlastVPN research, which found that during the first half of 2021, installation of VPNs in India reached 348.7 million, a 671 percent increase over the previous year.
This was the biggest country-wise rise seen anywhere in the globe, and it propelled India to the fourth-largest VPN adopter in the world, trailing only Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore.
After being forced to drop their internal server systems, which were developed with their own specific security and encryption infrastructures, Indian businesses have increasingly relied on VPNs to protect sensitive data exchanged within an organisation. In fact, in June 2021, the Central government relaxed VPN usage rules to allow employees to work from home amid a public health emergency, recognising the rising importance of VPNs to Indians.
However, just as a VPN gives anonymity and privacy to a company, it also provides it to malicious online actors trying to conceal their illicit activities from authorities. Cybercrime is generally known to be on the rise, with VPNs becoming an increasingly important tool for Blackhat hackers and cybercriminals.
The Parliament Standing Committee appears to have evaluated the threat of cybercrime against the value of VPNs to India’s corporations, concluding that the former deserves priority.
If the central government does act on the committee’s recommendations, it may strike a severe blow to numerous Indian firms that have grown to rely on VPNs to secure sensitive customer data.