Your IP address is essential to sending and receiving information online. However, if hackers know your IP address, they can use it to obtain very valuable information, including your location and online identity. Using this information as a starting point, they could hack your device, steal your identity, and more.
Someone who knows your IP address is at risk, but it's rarely discussed. Criminals can use your IP to launch various cyberattacks and scams against you and others. Before you start, however, take a look at what your personal IP address is:What is my IP?
By the end of this article, you will know how to protect yourself and find ways to hide your IP address, it's simple.
How can others find my IP address?
Your IP address is a unique string of numbers assigned to you by your ISP, such as the delivery address for online traffic. If you connect to a different Wi-Fi or move house, your IP address will change with your location.
Most ISPs use dynamic IP addresses, which are not fixed on your device, but you can usestatic IP(Learn aboutDifferent types of IP addressesfor more information). For example, if you want your computer's IP address to remain the same at all times, you can specify it through your device's settings. This is useful when port forwarding if you want to send some data directly from the router to your computer's IP address.
due to yourIP address contains certain information about you, so someone might want to use it for malicious purposes. People can get your IP address in a number of ways. Here are just a few:
- By borrowing your device
If someone borrows or uses your computer, they can find out your IP address in seconds, because there are countless free websites that allow you to do so.
- from an email
If you email someone, they can check the header of the message, which may contain your IP address. Yahoo! Microsoft Outlook is known to include IP addresses in email headers.
- click a link
Any link you click requires your IP address to be given to the server on the other end to deliver the content provided by the link. Whoever owns the server will see your IP address.
- by hacking your router
If someone guesses your router password and logs in, they can easily see your IP address.
- from web server
Every time you visit the website, your IP address is collected and stored on the server. Anyone with that server can go and find your IP.
- click ad
When you click on an ad, you provide your IP to the service provider. Some online advertisements may be created by malicious actors and compromise your security.
- Participate in online forums
If you enjoy participating in discussions at home while connected to the Internet, forum administrators can view your public IP address and sniff your location.
- Connect to fake hotspot
Hackers can set up fake hotspots and view your IP address and personal information, and even infect your device with malware.
- on social networks
While using social media is fun, these platforms collect a lot of sensitive information about your life, friends, habits, interests, and IP.
Is it illegal to track IP addresses?
Tracking your IP address is legal as long as it is not used for criminal activity. The websites you visit, the applications you use, and even your ISP collect your IP address and other personal information.
However, individual users can also easily track your IP address. If they don't intend to harm you in any way, there is no such law that would prevent them from spying on you - unless their curiosity involves hacking or social engineering techniques.
Will a VPN hide my IP address?
Yes, it does.VPNcompletelyhideyour IP address and encrypt your internet connection. Even better, a VPN prevents third parties like your ISP from eavesdropping on your data. Your online activities cannot be traced back to you, providing you with strong security.
NordVPN has over 5500 servers in 59 countries to give you the best speeds. With one NordVPN account, you can protect up to six different devices: smartphone, tablet, laptop, and more. You can also install it on your routers and security gadgets that don't directly support VPN functionality.
You can jump from one server to another in seconds, change your IP address and hide your location. Protect your online privacy now.
What can others do with your IP?
While your IP address doesn't reveal sensitive information like your phone number or apartment location, hackers can still use your IP against you. If cybercriminals know your IP address, the consequences can be devastating:
- Someone can get your location and invade your privacy in real life
Your IP address shows your city, so if someone maliciously finds it, you could be in trouble. Let's say you've announced on social media that you're going on vacation. Criminals just need to do a little extra digging to find your house and steal it while you're away.
- Someone can hack your device using your IP
The Internet uses ports as well as your IP address to connect. Every IP address has thousands of ports, and a hacker with your IP can try all of them to brute force connections, such as taking over your phone and stealing your information. If criminals do gain access to your device, they could also install malware on it, which could expose your IP.
- Someone can impersonate you to get your IP address
Your ISP may reveal your IP address to others. Criminals who know your name on social media can contact your ISP and try to impersonate you or use phishing attacks to steal your personal information. Remember, telcos are just people using systems with lots of personally identifiable information.
- Employers can track your activity
The IPs are owned by the ISP and each IP is assigned to a user. When you're connected to your work network, your employer may see and track everything you do online -- giving you little privacy.
- Hackers can attack you with DDoS attacks
If hackers know your IP address, they can harm you through a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack. A DDoS attack floods your device with traffic by flooding your device with a large number of computers controlled by a hacker, disconnecting it from the internet and shutting it down completely.
- Cybercriminals can frame you for illegal activities
Hackers have been known to use hacked IP addresses to download illegal content that threatens national security and anything else they don't want traced back to them. Protecting your IP address is protecting yourself.
How can I stop someone from using my IP address?
You should always protect any personally identifiable information, even if you believe the risk does not apply to you. With enough determination, a bad actor can piece together a complete identity just by going online, and your IP might be the starting point.
Here are three ways to protect your IP address and prevent yourself from being exploited by hackers:
- Change your privacy settings
- Update firewalls and routers
- use a VPN
What other benefits do VPNs provide?
The VPN will establish an encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN server. This means that no one can monitor your data—not even your Internet Service Provider (ISP)—as it moves from your device to the server.
Data has never been more valuable. Your ISP can monitor your activity and sell this information to advertisers and other third parties. Hackers can steal your passwords and launch phishing attacks using your private information. Protecting your data is critical.
NordVPN offers a number of extras that are particularly useful, includingThreat ProtectionThe system will protect you from high-risk websites and other known threats, enhancing your protection against malware.Enable Kill SwitchAfter that, any accidental data leakage can be avoided. with the help ofNordLynxprotocol, you can enjoy unparalleled speed without compromising security.