Nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to go without the Internet for a significant amount of time. Everything you do is connected to the Internet in some way, whether it’s a job that requires communicating with clients via the Internet or keeping in touch with friends on social media.
Because everything you do has ties to the Internet, data encryption has become a vital piece of cybersecurity. But what data can be encrypted? And how do you do it?
Ways to Encrypt Your Data
VPNs to Encrypt Network Traffic
Typical networks employ various encryption protocols. However, users will not notice a difference between an unencrypted network and an encrypted network. That is until their data is stolen by a cybercriminal.
While most private networks have set encryption protocols, many public networks—networks hosted by public places such as cafes, libraries, stores, and vice versa—lack proper encryption. Because of this, the data you send out is unencrypted.
When using public networks, it’s recommended you use a VPN to encrypt traffic and data your device sends out. The best value vpns will actively encrypt the data and will even go as far as to anonymize your presence on the entire network.
Encrypted Messaging Apps to Safely Send Texts
Earlier this year, WhatsApp caught flak from the online community due to the revelation that the app had been sharing users’ data to Facebook since 2016. Since then, people have been looking for a good, privacy-oriented alternative to WhatsApp.
There are a few messaging apps that encrypt texts, images, and videos that users send to each other, the most popular of them right now perhaps being Signal, an app that even Edward Snowden and Elon Musk have advocated for.
The only downside is that both parties in the conversation need to be using an encryption-oriented app. If they aren’t, messages will not be encrypted. However, it’s still recommended you download Signal or apps like Signal, as they have the capability of being much more secure than your run-of-the-mill messaging app.
Password Managers to Safely Store Passwords
If a cybercriminal were to get their hands on your passwords, your online safety, your financial records, and even your identity would be at risk. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize this, and they will recycle older passwords for new accounts. They may even go as far as saving all of their passwords in a Word document—one of the worst things you can do.
To safely store your passwords, you can use a password manager. Password managers also referred to as password lockers, store all of your passwords in one spot. The reason this is considered safe is that password managers encrypt all stored passwords and hashes them for extra security.
Integrated Encryption Programs to Encrypt Files
It’s a good idea to encrypt your computer’s files so that cybercriminals will be unable to get their hands on the data; even if they were to physically steal your device, they’d need to break the encryption. But how do you encrypt a computer’s files? Fortunately, both Windows and macOS come with their own encryption programs: BitLocker and FileVault, respectively.
Both BitLocker and FileVault offer full disk encryption. Full disk encryption encrypts the entirety of the selected hard drive(s); files, folders, programs, and even the operating system itself are encrypted.
BitLocker comes with most versions of Windows, and the same goes for FileVault with macOS. They’re also free, so it’s highly recommended you take advantage of the security these programs offer.
There is no shortage of ways to encrypt your data throughout the day. And don’t take encryption for granted! With proper encryption, even the most talented cybercriminals will struggle to steal your data.