Protect Your IP Address From Falling Into the Wrong Hands
Your IP address is an essential component of your online experience. It acts as an identifier for the device you’re using and helps websites know where to send information. But, even though it plays such a crucial role, the dangers surrounding improper IP security are rarely discussed. Since it holds certain data about you and your activities, hackers can exploit your IP address for various malicious purposes. In this week’s Zlog, we’ll take a look at the most common ways someone can find your IP address, what they can do with it, and how you can prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
How Can Someone Learn What Your IP Address Is?
Your IP address is like a virtual fingerprint of your network, a unique combination of numbers. These numbers are assigned to your network by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). Because this information can be used to identify valuable personal information, some online users are may want to exploit it for personal gain. The most common ways of how someone can find it out are:
- If you torrent content – The easiest way other online users can find your IP address is if you torrent files. Every member of the swarm (the seeders or leechers of the particular file), can see your full address. Not only this, but they’ll also be able to see the specific type and even the version of the torrent client you’re using.
- From Your Email – Most online users aren’t aware of this practice, but if you send an email from your device, the header of your message could contain your IP address for the receiver to see. While Gmail doesn’t reveal your IP address to other users, other major email services like Microsoft Outlook and Yahoo! include email addresses in the message header.
- From Accessing Websites – Every time you access a website, the site sees and stores your IP address. Of course, this information isn’t public and is only available to the site’s owners, but the problem arises if the site you’re accessing is not safe and trustworthy in the first place. For this reason, the best you can do is to be careful about which websites you visit to avoid privacy issues with your IP address.
What Can Someone Do With Your IP Address?
Aside from just identifying your device based on the IP address, this unique string of numbers also reveals geo-locating details such as your country, city, ISP provider, and ZIP code. With such information at their disposal, hackers can affect your online experience in a number of different ways. These can range from some benign ways to some truly devastating ones. These include:
- Restricting Your Access to Certain Sites and Services
- Spamming You with Ads and Unwanted Messages
- Selling Your Information to Third-party Sites
- Changing Your Privacy Settings
- Hacking The Connected Devices
- Performing Illegal Activities
- Flooding your Device with a DDoS Attack
How to Protect Your IP Address from Malicious Online Users
In our blog posts, we always highlight the importance of protecting valuable identifiable information, even if you think you might not be at risk. It only takes one breach and all of your personal and financial information could fall into the wrong hands. That’s why we always recommend you take preventative measures to protect valuable details, such as your IP address. Here are the two best tactics you can employ to protect it and keep yourself safe from hackers:
1. Update your Privacy Settings
Updating settings on all of your messaging services and apps can go a long way in making sure your IP address stays safe and private. With this in mind, set all apps to private and don’t take any calls or messages from unknown people on messaging apps like WhatsApp and Skype. Another thing that’s pretty simple but very effective is to update the password of your router fairly often. Make sure to use unique and long passwords which include a mix of many characters and upper and lower case letters.
2. Use a VPN Service
A VPN is not just a useful tool you can use to bypass Internet bans and access restricted content from all over the globe. It also allows you to browse the online world in complete anonymity and privacy, by hiding your real IP address and encrypting your connection.
It can protect you from any malicious online users trying to steal your information but also prevent your ISP or the government from spying on your online activities. If you want to add a robust layer of online security to your home network or mobile device, choosing a VPN service is your best option. Sign up today for free or select one of our paid plans and ensure your network is safe and well-protected.