What Can Someone Do with Your IP Address and How Can You Protect It

By: | July 13th, 2021

Online privacy is a major concern for people when they are online. You are connected to so many people when accessing different websites, and your IP address is unique, identifying you apart from others. It is important that you are aware of what people can do with your IP address, and the ways that you can protect yourself.

Things That Someone Can Do With An IP Address

Not everything that someone can do with an IP address is necessarily harmful or malicious. Anyone that is connected to the internet has an IP address that connects users to one another. Companies and businesses use IP addresses to identify unique visitors to their site, utilizing this for statistics and data purposes. This can help companies grow, facilitating the audience they have and making adjustments to cater to their market. If you run a video game server, an IP address is used to connect users to the destination of the server, also communicating with all those users connected simultaneously. Of course, there are plenty of malicious things that people may do with your IP address as well.

Track Where You Live

When someone gains your IP address, they may get a general location of where you are located. These users cannot gain your exact location, but depending on the IP address, can get a vicinity of where your devices are connected from. It is important to note that when an IP address is used to access a website, that information is attained. You can then use the information of where that device accessed the site from, getting coordinates or estimates of the location. As mentioned, this does not translate to an exact address, but can help hackers and users find out where a person has been, whether they live there, go to school, or go to work. This is why it is important that you limit the amount of personal information you let out on public forums and websites, as information that is easily accessible can be paired with your IP address to better identify you.

Scams, Viruses And Phishing

If you are targeted by a hacker, and they send you a link with your IP address, clicking on a link will give the other party access and knowledge to what device you used to click that link. They can also tell what browser you are using when you have clicked the link in question. They can use that small bit of information to try and trick you into clicking other links, suggesting that your specific device has been compromised in any sort of way, and must download or go to a specific website in order to fix it. If a hacker is able to gain your IP and connect it with your personal information access on various sites, they can utilize this for illegal activities to steal your details and use it for criminal activities using your stolen identity. This is more dependent on social engineering, and as long as you avoid clicking unknown links, or sharing information, you can maintain your security and safety. 

DDOS Attack

Another way that someone can do something to you by using your IP address is through a DDOS attack. DDOS stands for distributed denial of service, a cyber attack on a specific server or network with the purpose to shut it down or disrupt it in some sort of way. This is done through a DDOS attack by flooding a server with a constant flow of traffic, overwhelming the system. This disrupts the service and denies other legitimate users access to the servers. This is important to know for businesses or other networks that have many users on their servers, including schools. This can also occur on browsers, video game networks, and company servers, affecting thousands and millions of customers and users. Although not as critical to individual networks and IP addresses, this is highly detrimental to large businesses. 

Hacks

If you are running your own server, from business needs or personal usage, people can use your IP address to find weak points in your server. They will look for open ports, vulnerabilities, and other misconfigurations to take advantage of and hack devices, getting your personal information. It is important that you, as a user on the internet, take the necessary precautions to protect your servers, your computers, and your devices in order to keep all your information secure.

Protecting And Hiding Your IP Address With A VPN

A VPN takes the information that is relayed from your computer when you access different websites and masks it behind an encryption. You will choose your specific location for the intermediary server to make it appear as if you are accessing the internet from anywhere. When you use a VPN, the website will see the IP address of the VPN instead of your home computer. The server you are connected to will not be able to identify your geographical location, and anyone using your IP address will gain information that is not tied to you. Consider the benefits of using VPNs through www.swagbucks.com/shop/nordvpn-coupons. The cost of purchasing a VPN can provide you with the security and safety that is extremely valuable, to ensure that you are not susceptible to attacks in any form.

Safe Network Practices

When you are online, you are connected to thousands and millions of users around the world. It is critical that you not only have the security measures in place to protect you and your information, but also that you practice safe habits to keep your data private. Do not share information on social media, unsecured emails, or open networks. Remember that when you connect to free wifi connections, you are susceptible to that specific network, and may be vulnerable to attacks. In an age of excess sharing, privacy is more valuable than ever.

Your information and data should always be protected. You should be taking the precautions to keep private and important information safe, but also avoid sharing too much information. The internet is a big place, and you never know who is trying to steal information on you and potentially putting you in harmful situations.

Image by Werner Moser from Pixabay

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