How to Encrypt Your Internet Connection and Make it Safer?
If you ask Internet users “do you want a more secure Internet connection?” you’ll have a hard time finding one that will answer negatively. Everyone wants a safer Internet.
The problem is that most people don’t really know how to get it. At best, they create some strong passwords, avoid potentially malicious websites, look out for phishing emails, take care of what they post on social media and so on.
All of this is definitely what you should be doing to be safe on the Internet, but it’s just the first step. It’s like locking the house when you leave. It’s the least you can and should do to prevent intruders from freely entering your home, but if you truly want to keep your home and family safe, you’d probably install some cameras, motion detectors, perhaps buy a gun (and learn how to use it) and start training some martial arts in case you need to confront an intruder.
It’s the same for your Internet connection. All the passwords and caution is definitely something you should be practicing, but it might not be enough to have an Internet connection as secure as it can be.
For this, you will need to encrypt your Internet.
Why Should You Encrypt Your Internet Traffic?
Encrypting stuff isn’t an easy process so is it really necessary?
Well, let us tell you why should you encrypt your Internet traffic so you’ll see why this little effort will pay dividends in the long run.
If you are using unencrypted Internet traffic, your data is in plain text. That’s like spreading a welcome mat to anyone who wants to take a look.
- Hackers can take advantage of your unencrypted connection and intercept it. Once they are able to do that they can steal your sensitive info and data like usernames and passwords, or redirect your traffic to a phishing site.
- Your ISP can use your unencrypted traffic to limit your bandwidth. Why would they do this? To convince you to buy a more expensive plan, to reduce the quantity of data they have to process, to handle peaks and network congestions better and so on.
- Speaking of ISPs, they can also use your unencrypted Internet to sell your browsing history. In April, 2017, passed the ISP Privacy Bill, overruling the previous FCC regulations. This bill practically gives ISPs free rein to share and sell your browsing history with advertisers.
- Finally, unencrypted Internet also makes it much easier for government agencies to monitor and collect your data. And once acquired, your data can be searched by other law agencies without the need for a warrant.
What is the Best Way to Encrypt Internet Connection?
Okay, now that you know the reasons why should you encrypt your Internet traffic, let’s talk about how to actually do it and what is the best way to encrypt an Internet connection.
There are, as you probably assumed, several methods to encrypt Internet traffic.
- Use HTTPS
This is the first encryption that you should be using. As a user, you don’t really have to do anything to “set it up”. All you need is to pay a little more attention to the URLs of websites you are visiting and making sure they start with “HTTPS”.
What this means is that a website you are visiting is using TLS encryption to make sure that data hasn’t been breached. You can check out this article to learn more about TLS encryption.
- Use Encrypted Messaging Apps
Instant messaging has completely taken over phone calls. Each minute, 41 million messages are sent out and two-and-a-half billion people use messaging apps on their smartphones, according to Kommando Tech.
41 million messages is a lot of data and a lot of opportunity for someone to eavesdrop and intercept the communication and data. This is why it’s important to use encrypted messaging apps like Signal (which is also endorsed by Edward Snowden).
- Use a VPN
As far as encrypting Internet traffic, arguably the best way to do this is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. This will route (or tunnel if you will) your online traffic through one or more remote servers and allow you to browse the Internet anonymously (no IP tracking) and safely.
Keep in mind, however, that there are significant differences between VPN providers. Some VPNs will log your data (or at least some of it) and will use very weak encryption.
You need to find a VPN that has a no-logs policy and uses high-level encryption. Preferably, you should opt for a VPN that uses at least 128-bit encryption keys, IKEv2, SoftEther, or OpenVPN VPN encryption protocols, 256, 384, or 512-bit SHA-2 cipher (for HMAC auth), Twofish or Camellia VPN ciphers and RSA-2048 or ECDH key exchange protocol.
- Use Tor
With a Tor browser, your Internet traffic will go through several decentralized nodes, making it impossible for someone to track the original source (you).
Each layer (think of it as an onion) is encrypted on its own and as your data travels through nodes at each of them a volunteer removes a single layer of encryption. However, as volunteers don’t know each other, it’s not possible to read a whole message until the last layer of encryption is removed (which happens at the last and exit node.
We also have an article on how CTemplar over Tor makes your email more secure that we recommend checking out.
- Encrypt Your WiFi
Although there are several methods to encrypt WiFi, such as WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and WPA (WiFi Protected Access), the best way to encrypt Internet connection when it comes to WiFi is WPA-2.
Turning WPA-2 can be a little tricky and largely depends on the router you are using. You’ll first need to find the router’s IP (this is not the same as your computer’s IP).
For example, to turn on WPA-2 on Mac OSX, you need to:
- Go to System Preferences by clicking on the Apple icon and selecting System Preferences from the drop-down menu
Or clicking the Search Preferences icon from the Launchpad.
- In System Preferences, find Network
- Click the Advanced button
- Go to TCP/IP tab and you will find your router IP here.
Then, use this IP to access the router’s control panel by simply copy/pasting the IP into your address bar and then login in with a username and password (if you don’t know it, ask your ISP).
Once you’ve logged in, go to the router’s security settings and enable WPA-2.
- Use End-to-End Encrypted Email
Most of these emails come from unencrypted or poorly encrypted email providers which makes data you send and receive vulnerable to threat actors.
Because of this, you need an encrypted email service that will provide an extra layer of protection and privacy to your email address like CTemplar: Armored Email.
CTemplar uses the highest-grade OpenPGP encryption to secure your data in transit and at rest. In addition to encrypting email body, attachments, and subjects (on paid plans), CTemplar also includes 2FA security, anonymizes your IP to prevent tracking, uses zero-knowledge privacy to protect your password and more.
Are you looking for a secure and anonymous email that is protected by strong end-to-end encryption? Sign up for CTemplar today.