There are various reasons why a person might want to encrypt their online activity, some of which you may be aware of and others you may not be.
Users may want to conceal their online browsing tracks, while others may wish to protect their personal information from hackers.
Others may choose to keep their online activities secret from ad tracking companies, the government, or their own Internet Service provider (ISP).
Whatever your reason for wanting to keep your internet traffic encrypted and shielded from third-party monitoring, you'll be relieved to learn that it's simple to do so.
Users can encrypt their internet traffic with the help of a few simple and easy-to-find tools. In our guide, you can learn how to encrypt all internet traffic for a secure internet connection.
Do I Need to Encrypt My Internet connection?
Before you learn why you need to encrypt your internet connection, you need to understand what encryption is. It is far more than just using a strong password. (Find the Best Free VPN For Dark Web)
Converting data from a readable to an unreadable format is known as encryption. It can only be read by someone who has the encryption key (or a special decryption key). Anyone attempting to track the message's contents can only see the encrypted performance.
To see the “Hello World!” text, you'll need the original encryption key or a new decrypted key rather than the encrypted version of something like “bTFR+qKhkQt2djukrfX+Zww+R+R+QtR+QtR.”
Modern ciphers like AES and large key sizes start at 128-bit and upwards. If Tianhe-2, the world's fourth-fastest supercomputer, tried to crack an AES-256 encrypted message, it would take 9.631052 years. A brute-force attack can break an ancient encryption cipher like Blowfish.
Hackers can listen to and intercept unencrypted connections. Here, they can steal sensitive information such as credit card details, passwords, and much more, or they can redirect you to phishing websites.
Cybercriminals trick devices into connecting to a fake Wi-Fi network that they operate. And by doing so, they can watch all online communications.
Unencrypted traffic also means your ISP can scan your data packets to see the websites you visit and web apps. Throttling connections is a key thing they do in response.
Another area is the selling of data for advertisers or for governments that take part in mass surveillance. NZ is a part of the 5-eyes alliance and the USA, UK, Canada, and Australia.
You may wonder, how do I encrypt my internet connection and think that adding a password for your Wi-Fi suffices. A password for access doesn't mean the connection is encrypted. It takes much more to encrypt web browsing on such networks.
What Is the Best Way to Encrypt Data?
Every day, we use many online services and apps to send and receive emails, text messages, watch videos, and many more. It is convenient to know how to encrypt your connection in as many means as possible.
Here are some of the best ways you can start encrypting your internet connection and secure your web traffic.(Learn How To Get Around VPN Block)
Use WPA2/WPA3 Wi-Fi encryption
Ensure your Wi-Fi access is secure and check your wireless router uses the latest WPA2 PSK or WPA3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) encryption.
Your Wi-Fi router can use other data encryption such as WEP and WPA, although these are outdated for protection against security breaches.
You can check your router by typing the router's IP into the address bar of your browser. Besides this, you should protect access to your router using a strong password of at least 12 characters and using an upper and lower case with special symbols.
By default, many router login details are “admin” and “password,” so Wi-Fi security is weak when you first have a new router.
Use HTTPS Everywhere
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, or HTTPS, is an Internet protocol that uses a TLS/SSL encryption certificate for secure data transfer between your web browser and websites.
Note that not all websites protect users from being snooped on as they don't fully encrypt your internet traffic with the HTTPS protocol.
Some websites still use HTTP, which doesn't provide encryption and exposes sensitive information such as credit card details. You can get a browser extension offering HTTPS everywhere for added security. It is wise to use HTTPS Everywhere even if it doesn't encrypt your traffic all over.
Encrypted Messaging Apps
Instant messaging use is on the rise, so it can be vital to encrypt your internet connection using encrypted messaging. Luckily, apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and Viber all offer end-to-end encryption.
Such apps encrypt messages between sender and receiver, making it impossible for third parties to see.
Both the sender and receiver have access to public and private keys to view encrypted messages.
Encrypted email services
Many email services lack when it comes to encrypt internet traffic. The way around this is to use encrypted email services. Services like ProtonMail offer protection, or you can use “burner” emails that delete themselves after a period. Email is naturally vulnerable, so using encrypted email services is wise.
Use Encrypted DNS
DNS is a system of addresses much like the phone book of the Internet. It matches website domain names to their numeric addresses or IP addresses. When you enter the URL in your browser address bar, the web browser sends a request to a DNS server.
ISPs typically run DNS servers to intercept DNS queries and see what you do online. To stop anyone tracking your online activities, you can use encrypted DNS.
Use Tor Browser
Tor or “The Onion Router” runs the TOR browser across a network of decentralized and anonymous servers around the world run by volunteers. Each volunteer only gets a piece of ciphered information sent from any message or connection to a website.
Browsing the web with Tor is terribly slow, and besides this, data you send via nodes on the TOR network can be intercepted on the exit node as it becomes decrypted. You can find many articles on Tor vs. VPN to see which offers you the best solution.
Secure Browser Extensions
You can find many browser security extensions to help secure your Internet connection.
Some offer HTTPS Everywhere on your connection as others direct traffic via a proxy or protect you by blocking ads and tracking. It is easy to use a reputable security browser extension.
Use a VPN
Although last on the list, the best way to encrypt your Internet connection is to use a VPN (a virtual private network).
A VPN hides your IP while sending online traffic through secure encrypted tunnels and a remote VPN server. All your online activities can't be intercepted or linked back to you.
A VPN shields you from hackers or anyone else who wishes to see what you do on the internet.
Remember, not all VPN services offer a full service. It is best to avoid free VPNs; they don't use AES-256 encryption, and they can also be used to record your data, which they then sell on.
Why Is It Important to Encrypt Your Wireless Network?
It is important to encrypt your Wi-Fi network for several reasons. One of the main reasons is the default passwords are weak, and with a packet sniffer, any hacker can quickly gain access to your wireless router.
Even with all the ways to encrypt above, only the VPN can prevent anyone from seeing your IP address. Besides hackers, your ISP or government can link online activity back to your connection.
A VPN used for encryption means you can access any website or send any message using messaging apps or email, and the contents are secured from anyone on your network or anyone trying to pry.