Have you ever heard of someone getting their online identity stolen? Quite likely you did. Hackers steal IP addresses that are the vital part of your online identity often enough for it to become an issue. Once they have your IP, they can get access to your sensitive information or even perform illegal actions under your identity. This kind of cyber threat is called IP spoofing, and you obviously should protect yourself from it. We will tell you more about this cyber attack and ways of staying secure.

What is IP spoofing and how it works?

When you surf the Internet, you constantly send and receive data packets. Each of them has a header where the IP addresses of the sender and acceptor, as well as other information, are written. Normally these data packets are sent using a TCP/IP protocol.

But the way this protocol works gives hackers an opportunity to rewrite the header a bit and steal the IP address of the source.

Here is how TCP/IP works. First of all, the user sends a message that is called SYN because it should help devices to sync the sequence numbers. As this message is sent to a acceptor, the connection is created. The receiver replies with the acknowledgment that the SYN message was received - this message is called ACK. Finally, the source confirms that the connection is secure by providing the receiver with a SYN-ACK message.

Generally, IP spoofing happens before the last stage. The malefactor steals the TCP connection before the source can send the final SYN-ACK confirmation. Then the malefactor changes the MAC address in the header of the packet keeping the IP address untouched. When the receiver gets this message, it thinks that it’s connected to the real sender. But really, the connection is created between the acceptor and the hacker hiding behind the stolen IP address.

How can IP spoofing harm you?

Hackers are creative enough to come up with as many ways to profit from IP spoofing as possible. They use it to target specific users or servers. Moreover, they even can target apps using this cyber attack. But let’s see the most popular reasons malefactors steal IP addresses.

To steal the sensitive data

IP spoofing is often performed in public places with vulnerable WiFi hotspots. Using such a network you merely need to get on the website that lacks SSL certificate, and a hacker will get a chance to use IP spoofing to pretend to be either you or the site you’re browsing at the moment. Thus, the malefactor gets access to the connection and can see all the data you exchange. And even the most insignificant information might become a clue for them to obtain sensitive data such as credit card details.

To get access to a target system

IP spoofing helps hackers to bypass firewalls and blacklists to access the destination server or system. All they need to do is to steal the suitable IP address and utilize it to get into the network or even a device. Then they can receive all the data they’re looking for or perform any malicious actions. That’s the reason why businesses should use two-factor authentication.

To perform a DDoS attack

Hackers can send a bunch of requests to a server using a stolen IP address so that the responses return to the device that is using this IP. As a result, the gadget will break down which might be a goal of a malefactor. Also, it can give hackers access to sensitive information.

Is it forbidden by the law?

The IP spoofing itself is not forbidden, but the malicious actions performed with its help are illegal. For instance, using proxies to mask your authentic IP address you’re basically performing IP spoofing because the proxy service rewrites your data packets replacing your IP with another one. Yet, this activity is not considered to be illegal as long as you’re not doing something bad.

But if you’re using IP spoofing to commit cyber crimes, you will face the punishment.

How to safeguard yourself from IP spoofing?

It’s virtually impossible to tell whether someone is using a stolen IP address or not. That’s why you should work on other methods of safeguarding yourself from this kind of attack. For example, businesses can establish a monitoring system that will detect suspicious activity. Also, they should use two-factor authentication and decent firewalls. It’s helpful to move the corporate website from IPv4 to IPv6 which is more secure. Also, you can implement Deep Packet Inspection and ingress and egress filtering.

Generic users don’t have to get into all these technical processes. You can safeguard yourself from IP spoofing quite simply. First of all, stick to HTTPS sites that have a TLS/SSL protocol. Then you can be sure the connection is safe. Also, advanced antivirus software can spot when someone is trying to spoof your IP address.

Most importantly, you should use a VPN, especially when connected to public networks. iNinja will make the spoofing task impossible for hackers by hiding your traffic and IP address. Malefactors will only see the IP of the remote server you’re connected to, but not your authentic data. Thus, any attempts will bring hackers nowhere.

Bottom line

You can stay almost perfectly safe online if you’re being cautious and utilizing a VPN. iNinja can keep you safe from most cyber attacks that involve the interception of your connection to the destination server. Therefore, with iNinja, you’re being safeguarded for free, and you have merely nothing to worry about.

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