Data travels the world in the blink of an eye, but convenience comes at a price.
Speed and integrity are everything. Unless you force encryption, data is generally left “unsafe.” To help prevent this, I’m going to teach you how to encrypt your Internet connection.
Technically, however, encrypting your Internet connection or encrypting your WiFi isn’t accurate. We often hear that these are unsecured, so the aim is to encrypt the data passing through those channels.
You can encrypt your Internet connection several ways, but the most secure by far is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). These offer many benefits, including providing you with greater online privacy, bypassing geolocation blocks, and, most importantly, data encryption.
Here’s how to do this.
1. Sign up for a VPN Service
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are private networks of remote servers. These offer many benefits, including providing you with greater online privacy, bypassing geolocation blocks, and, most importantly, data encryption.
There are free VPNs alongside commercial services. You can also find them available either as standalone services or integrated with another application on service.
For example, NordVPN is a dedicated VPN service provider; while Opera is a web browser with a built-in VPN service.
2. Install Your VPN Application
Standalone VPN services often have applications for various platforms. These apps allow you to use them on multiple device types such as PCs, Macs, smartphones, and even some TVs. To install the app, download the right one from your VPN provider’s website.
If you’re using an application with a built-in VPN service, refer to the documentation for the application to see how you can enable it.
3. Selecting the Protocol and Encryption
After installing the VPN application, you may have to do some configuration. Launch your VPN application and access the settings panel. For this guide, we’ll be using NordVPN as an example to demonstrate the areas on which to focus;
NordVPN always encrypts all internet connections with AES-256-GCM combined with a 4096-bit DH key. These are currently the highest levels of encryption possible and will make it very difficult (I hate the word impossible) to crack.
Some VPN providers like TorGuard allow you to choose the level of encryption you wish to use. If your VPN provider selected does so, I highly recommend selecting 256-bit encryption for better data security.
4. Connect to a VPN Server
Once you’ve chosen the protocol and encryption level, it’s time to connect to a VPN server. You can select any from the list available in your app. As a rule of thumb, the closer the VPN server is to your actual location, the better your connection will perform.
As soon as you see the “Connected” sign, you can browse the Internet with peace of mind; your Internet connection will be encrypted.
Plan B: Other Options for Encrypting Your Internet
The steps above outline just one service to give you comprehensive Internet encryption, privacy, and digital freedom. However, if you don’t want to use a VPN, there are other options. You can also consider;
The Onion Ring (TOR) is a volunteer-run network that runs your Internet requests through a series of nodes and relay points. Using the Tor Browser helps obfuscate your point of origin, making it harder to trace. In addition, anything run through Tor gets encrypted.
Some browser extensions can also help encrypt your Internet. These are often free and simple to install and use. However, like Tor Browser, they are only able to encrypt the data passing through your browser.
If home data encryption concerns you, then encrypting your WiFi signal is another possibility. Most modern routers support various security protocols for WiF. I suggest selecting WPA2 for the moment, at least until WPA3 becomes more widely compatible.
What is Encryption?
Encryption is the process of scrambling the data through the use of an algorithm. Without a key that’s generated during this process, the data becomes useless. Encryption is also relatively easy to implement while being challenging to undo.
Earlier I mentioned that when many talk about encrypting Internet or WiFi, they refer to data encryption. By default, data can be read by most devices can read. Because of increasing data breach or theft incidents, many are focusing on encryption to safeguard data.
As you can see, securing your Internet connection isn’t exactly difficult. Using a VPN is extremely easy, and there are more options than ever available today. One final note I have, though, is about free applications and services.
Always be wary of anything free if you are relying on it for data security. All developers need to earn money, and if they’re not charging you for the service or application, they may very well be selling your data for profit.