Even though the U.S. is leading the UK regarding VPN use, most Americans aren’t very concerned about privacy. At least that’s what a recent report conducted by Wombat Security Technologies seems to imply.

The survey, which was conducted results among 1,000 respondents in the U.S. and 1,000 in the UK, asked random people if they knew what a VPN was and if they’d ever used one.

The results are a little surprising.

It turns out more people know about VPNs than originally thought. What’s more, small businesses and even large corporations seem to be investing more in VPN networks for their employees.

A few takeaways:

  • 65% of U.S. respondents said they use a VPN on either a personal or corporate device
  • 44% of respondents in Britain said they used a VPN
  • 23% of UK respondents said they knew what VPNs were but don’t use them
  • 19% of U.S. respondents said they knew what VPNs were but don’t use them

While more people in the UK admitted to knowing how VPN work, it was the U.S. that had the most users.

71% of U.S. users say they regularly use their corporate-issued devices at home, while only 39% of UK respondents do. while only 39% of UK respondents do. That means more Americans may be using VPNs by default, meaning they may not actually know how they work.

Using VPNs without knowing what they do

What’s even more alarming is the fact that even though nearly 65% of people use a VPN for work or travel in the U.S., they have very little concern about the dangers public Wi-Fi poses. In fact, most of those who said they use a VPN also admitted to not caring or worrying about their privacy when browsing on public hotspots.

James Nathan Miller, the study’s author, puts it like this:

“Given that VPNs have gained a lot of traction in both the corporate and consumer sectors, we were surprised to see the significant differences between US and UK adoption rates. But we were even more surprised by the number of employees who either do not know about this technology or are actively choosing not to use it.”

Knowing the dangers of public hotspots

Airport Wi-Fi, cafe hotspots, and other public networks are rife with privacy concerns. In fact, most hotspots have little-to-no security settings in place, leaving your information exposed.

Using a VPN helps encrypt your network, which instantly makes any public hotspot into a secure. It’s one of the main benefits of using a VPN, yet it seems most don’t realize the dangers public networks pose.

The findings show that a significant portion of the working population (both in the U.S. and UK) use their personal devices for work. If not adequately protected, that means they could be unwittingly exposing not only their own privacy but also their company’s.

The report puts it nicely:

“Clearly, organizations show a measure of trust when they provide devices like laptops and smartphones for their employees to use inside and outside the office. Is that trust misplaced?”

You can read the full study here.