If your internet connection is encrypted, will snoopers still be able to tell when you are active; for example, clicking a link as opposed to merely reading a webpage. Will a snopper be able to see the flow of packets(stop and start) or will everything just be a blur and they won't be able to tell anything about how you are browsing.

2 Answers 2


will everything just be a blur

No. SSL/TLS does not make use of "cover traffic". With cover traffic, the line is kept constantly busy in both directions. Regardless of whether any actual payload is actually being transferred.

With SSL/TLS when nothing happens, the line is idle.

This allows for some meta-data analysis. The flows to/from and their rough size will be visible to eavesdroppers.

  • Is this also true for the protocols wpa2 and vpns use. With respect to cover traffic I mean. In addition, if you got hold of the wpa 2 password/encryption key how difficult/time consuming would it be to unencrypt the intercepted traffic
    – Bob Ogden
    Dec 21, 2015 at 3:25
  • If not is there a service you can get that makes all your traffic covered
    – Bob Ogden
    Dec 21, 2015 at 3:50

Just because the specific traffic is encrypted and thus not visible to outsiders, your original and destination will still be visible. This might not sound like a lot, but many things can be derived from this. Just imagine someone knowing all the websites/locations that you visit. This gives an idea about who you are as a person.

Also, the amount of packets that goes back and forth will be known and so one might be able to guess what you are doing. Are you streaming videos, viewing pictures, browsing individual pages, or ... It might also be known what times you get online. This can also say something about you.

So, when you ask:

... will everything just be a blur and they won't be able to tell anything about how you are browsing[?]

then the answer is no, some things will be known.

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