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Blog How to encrypt your Internet traffic and secure the connection

Please, mind this article is being drafted or rewritten and may contain imperfections. It has not been yet reviewed for final publication.

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...

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. 

  1. 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.

  1. 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).

  1. 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.

  1. 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 Liverado over Tor makes your email more secure that we recommend checking out.

  1. 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.

  1. Use End-to-End Encrypted Email

Email is still the main communication method over the Internet. Today, there are more than 4 billion email users around the world and each day they send and receive 306+ billion emails.

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 Liverado: Armored Email. 

Liverado 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), Liverado 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 Liverado today.

Encryption is the process of concealing a message so that it can only be read by the intended and trusted recipient.

Or, if you want to get technical about it, encryption means using algorithms to conceal and scramble data into an unrecognizable, encoded version, which can only be read by someone with a decryption key.

Why Do You Need to Encrypt Your Internet Traffic?

What does this mean for your Internet traffic? Why do you need to encrypt it?

Here are several reasons to encrypt network traffic:

  • If your data is unencrypted, it will be vulnerable to snooping and easily seen by anyone from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), government agencies, to cybercriminals.
  • Government agencies might be interested in your Internet activity and whether you are visiting any restricted websites.
  • Your ISP can limit your bandwidth if they decide that you are using too much data for streaming.
  • And, there are, of course, other reasons to encrypt your Internet connection.

Best 8 Ways to Encrypt Your Internet Connection

Now let's go through a couple of ways that you can use to encrypt your Internet connection and ensure your Internet privacy:

1) Secure Your Wi-Fi Network With WPA2 Encryption or Higher

Always ensure that your Wi-Fi router uses the latest WPA2 encryption or higher (WPA3).

WEP and WPA are outdated and therefore your network security will be more vulnerable, so be sure that this is not the protocol that your wireless router is using.

If it is, you will need to open the router control panel and change the protocol from WPA to WPA2/WPA3.

The exact method of accessing the router control panel will vary between router models, but in most cases, you'll need to:

  1. Find the router's IP address and type it in your browser's address field
  2. Enter the username and password to access the router's firmware. If you just got the router, this will be a default username and password like "admin" + "password." Most router models have their own default username and password.
  3. Once you're in the firmware, go to the security settings and change the protocol from WPA to WPA2/WPA3.
  4. While you're at it, change that default username and password to something that only you will know and will therefore be more secure

2) Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network)

With a Virtual Private Network (VPN), your Internet activity will remain private and your data secure from intercepting.

This is because a VPN service will send your Internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel to a secure remote VPN server and shield your IP address from spying by hackers, the government, and other third parties.

Keep in mind, however, that not all VPNs are the same, so be sure to use one with at least AES-256 or stronger encryption.

3) Install a Browser Extension

If you just use your browser as-is, your Internet connection might be more vulnerable than you think.

A browser extension like HTTPS Everywhere or Privacy Badger (both created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation) will help protect your traffic by sending it through a proxy, upgrade HTTP to HTTPS, or protect you from online trackers.

4) Use Encrypted DNS

The DNS, or Domain Name System, translates an URL from the address bar in your web browser into the IP address of the website that you want to visit.

This is, in short, how the Internet works.

However, this means that, since the DNS server is most likely run by your ISP, they can check on your Internet activities whenever they feel like it.

Another way to ensure that your DNS queries are private and that your ISP is not tracking your online activities, is to use encrypted DNS.

5) Switch From HTTP to HTTPS

If you visit a website and see in the address bar that its URL starts with "HTTP://", don't go further, especially if you need to enter any sensitive information such as passwords, credit card details and so on.

"HTTP" means that the website is not using any encryption so your traffic and data are vulnerable on it.

Today most websites have switched to a more secure HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), but there is still a good deal of websites that are using HTTP.

6) Install Tor Browser

Using a Tor browser is a bit more involved way to encrypt your Internet connection, but it's probably the most effective way there is.

When using the Tor browser, your Internet traffic is rerouted through three anonymous nodes.

These nodes are servers run by volunteers and they each get only a piece of the data that you send, so that you can browse anonymously.

Your traffic first goes through the entry node, passes through a middle node and finally exits through the exit node before it reaches you.

The only downside to using Tor is that it will slow down your traffic somewhat, so it's probably not the best idea to use it if you want a fast connection.

7) Use Encrypted Messaging Apps

More than 60 billion messages are sent every day on just Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp combined.

What is more, an average American adult sends and receives 30+ text messages every day.

With so many messages sent back and forth, you should pay attention to the messaging app that you are using. Are you using end-to-end encrypted messaging apps that protect your data or not?

Luckily, today most messaging apps are encrypted, thus protecting your data.

8) Use an Encrypted Email Service

In the same vein as encrypted messaging apps, you can also use encrypted email services to encrypt your Internet traffic and secure your email address.

Keep in mind that regular email services like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or Microsoft Outlook don't provide end-to-end encryption, but there are plenty of E2EE email providers that do, such as Liverado.

As there are many encrypted email services out there, it's important to know which one to choose.

First of all, ensure that it's using asymmetric encryption instead of symmetric. Symmetric encryption is less secure and uses the same encryption key to encrypt and decrypt the message.

On the other hand, asymmetric encryption protocol uses a pair of encryption keys. One key encrypts the data, while the other one decrypts it and only the recipient has this key.

With these 8 methods, you should now know how to secure your Internet traffic. Now go ahead and use the Internet the way that was intended in the first place and enjoy your privacy and anonymity.


How Do I Know if My Internet is Encrypted?

To ensure that your Wi-Fi network is encrypted, look for the "HTTPS" in the browser's address bar. The HTTPS encrypts your data and is as a result much more secure than the regular HTTP. In addition, be sure that your Wi-Fi router is using WPA2 encryption and not WPA or WEP, as these are both outdated and not as secure. If your router only supports WEP/WPA, buy a newer model as this one is outdated.

How to Turn on Wi-Fi Encryption?

To turn on Wi-Fi encryption on your router: 1. Enter the router's IP in the browser address bar 2. Use the router's username and password to access the firmware 3. Go to "Settings" or "Security Settings" and the option to change from WPA to WPA2/WPA3 4. Change this and click "Apply" or "Save." 5. Reboot the router

Which Internet Browser is Most Secure?

Tor Browser Tor is open-source software that enables anonymous connection via "nodes" and protects users from network surveillance. Firefox When it comes to mainstream browsers, Mozilla's Firefox browser is one of the best when it comes to the security and privacy it offers. Ungoogled Chromium Chromium is Google's open-source browser project that "aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all users to experience the web." Ungoogled Chromium is all that, but further modified to deal with Google's privacy issues. Iridium Speaking of Chromium, Iridium is a privacy browser based on the Chromium code, but with amped-up privacy.

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