Everyone who is connected to the internet has an IP address. It’s a combination of numbers that is unique to the WiFi network if you’re connected to it. And if you’re using mobile data, the IP address will be unique to your device. This uniqueness is precisely the reason why you might get troubles if your IP appears in the wrong hands.
So let’s see how revealing your IP might hurt you, and learn about the ways to stay protected.
How can malefactors harm you knowing your IP address?
Since IPs are unique, they reveal at least your location. But experienced hackers can use it for much more. Here are the six most popular ways of how malefactors can take advantage of knowing your IP address.
They can violate your real-life privacy
Do you remember people threatening others in games and on forums to trace back the location of a person they’ve got into an argument with? They were going to do that by finding out the IP address of this user. While almost no one threatens users with this anymore, it doesn’t mean that one couldn’t find out the location of some person who is connected to the internet.
IP addresses reveal the physical positions of users rather precisely — up to the floor and the flat a person is residing in if we’re talking about the Lan of WiFi connection. When an internet service provider issues an IP address, it gets associated with some particular physical address. So someone really could trace back your location if they found out your IP. Then they could steal your stuff, for example, if you’re away traveling.
They can get into your device
Each IP address has thousands of ports that connect the device to the internet allowing you to send and receive requests. However, the huge number of ports is not an issue for a hacker who is using some script that automates finding the right one. They could simply brute-force the connection if they find out your IP address. Then getting into your device would be a piece of cake.
Once a hacker has access to your gadget, they can do virtually anything they want from installing some malware to stealing your sensitive data and spying on your activity.
They can steal your identity
Today quite a big part of our identity is online — we have accounts on social media, friends we talk to on the internet, and so on. We can do a lot of things online — from just watching some silly videos to shopping and working. So if someone takes over our virtual personality, that could be quite a big deal. If a hacker does that, they can harm a victim’s bank account, interpersonal relationships, career — you name it.
Employers can see what you’re doing
You’re never invisible if you’re connected to the network in your office — administrators can see everything you’re doing online. Including the moments when you are not working. Just think of it, your personal conversations, all those pics you’re sending could be seen by your employer. Regularly. Does that make you want to cover your IP? We hope so.
You could suffer from a DDOS attack
If you’re valuable enough for hackers, they could DDOS you if they know your IP address. This kind of attack became quite simple to execute as technologies got more advanced. So it won’t be a hassle for hackers to perform it.
They could frame your for cybercrime
Cybercrime is now punished by the law just like regular crime. However, it’s much easier to pretend that you’re not the guilty one when you’re on the internet. If hackers know your IP, they can use it to cover their IPs. Then whatever they do online will look like your activity as the destination servers will receive requests from your IP address. And it will be incredibly hard for you to prove that you were set up.
How can hackers get your IP address?
There are quite a lot of ways for malefactors to find out your IP.
Every time you click a link, the server on which this page is hosted can see your IP address. Hackers can make you click a phishing link that leads to the site hosted on their server to see your data.
Some email clients can send your IP address along with your letter. Even though widely-used services don’t do that, you should be aware that some might expose your data.
When you download files from some torrent site, you join the swamp of seeders and leechers. And then anyone from this swamp could find out your IP address.
By using your device or WiFi network
It’s easy to find out the IP of a gadget if you have it in your hands — one could simply go to the site that detects user data or go to the network settings to see the IP address. Alternatively, if a person connects to your WiFi, they can see the IP of your network.
So, how to stay safe?
Besides maintaining basic digital hygiene — avoid opening emails and messages from unknown users, clicking suspicious links, etc. — you could do three more things to protect yourself online.
Check the settings of your messenger app
It’s better that you set your profile to private so that other users don’t see your data. Also, don’t accept calls from unknown people and avoid downloading files and opening links they send.
Keep your firewall and router firmware updated
It’s not hard for a hacker to get into a router that has outdated firmware or lacks a reliable firewall. Especially if you couldn’t be bothered to change the login data for the control center of your router. So take care of that — update the firmware, set a reliable password both for a network and a control center, and, ideally, get an antivirus that protects routers, too.
Use a VPN
If you ever thought, “Do I need a VPN?”, you probably need it. This tool actually is useful for any person who is connected to the internet. A VPN app will protect your IP from getting revealed.
What’s a VPN — the meaning and technology behind the tool
If you Google “VPN”, you’ll see a lot of offers to download one. This instrument became quite popular over the past few years. But what is it and how does it work?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network — a network of servers you can connect to if you want to stay anonymous online. When you’re connected to a VPN, you reroute your traffic through its server picking up its IP address. Then the destination website you’re accessing sees the data of a VPN server, not yours. That’s how you remain protected.
iNinja offers both a VPN extension and a dedicated app for your protection. This tool will provide you with numerous locations that will be handy if you need to access geo-restricted content. Our free VPN will help you hide your IP address without any hassle!