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Ethernet LAN does not imply (or provide) any encryption. It is simply a method to get data packets from point A to Point B. It's up to you to set up any encryption.

I have Windows 7. Internet connection is dynamic Ethernet, LAN. How do I find out if this type of connection is encrypted or not, so to make sure that all traffic, mail, browser, etc. passes through encryption and nobody can see it?

In this excerpt from Answercast #54, I look at the purpose of an Ethernet LAN, which is to move packets of information. It's not an encrypted service.

Encrypted connection

It's not your internet connection that's encrypted.

An Ethernet connection by definition is not. What you've just described here is basically no encryption. You need to take additional steps.

Those steps come in either of two forms.

Use https:

  • One is visit sites that use encryption. (In other words, use https for all of your websites.)

Not all websites use https. Ask Leo! is one of them. That's because I don't actually display any sensitive information.

But sites like your bank and your email or whatever, those all have the opportunity (or should have the opportunity) to go via https, which causes the connection to be encrypted between your machine and the remote site.

VPN service

  • The only other option (that will actually encrypt everything) is to sign up for a VPN service. Hotspot VPN is one. There are others.

A VPN service by definition will encrypt all of your traffic between your machine and their server and then from their server as it continues on to whatever services, sites and servers you are actually trying to use. But that link between your machine and the server of the VPN service is itself fully encrypted.

Ethernet LAN is not encrypted

But the fundamental thing you are asking about here is the internet connection. It's an Ethernet LAN.

Ethernet LAN does not imply any encryption whatsoever. It's simply is a method to get data packets from point A to Point B.

It's up to you (in the form of the software that you use) to make sure that whatever data you want to be encrypted is encrypted. Either on an application by application basis or using something like a VPN.

Article C5833 - September 20, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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