What can someone do with my IP address? [updated]
There are risks to someone who knows your IP address, but they are rarely discussed. Criminals can use your IP address to launch various cyber attacks and scams against you and others. Before we get started, though, let’s start with figuring out your personal IP address: What is my IP?
By the end of this post, you will know what to protect yourself from and discover ways to hide your IP address. Very stylish.
How can anyone find my IP address?
Your IP address is a unique string of numbers assigned to you by your Internet Service Provider – like the delivery address for your Internet traffic. If you connect to a different Wi-Fi network or move to another house, your IP address will change along with your location.
Most ISPs use dynamic IP addresses, which are not fixed to your device, but you can get a static IP address if you wish (you can learn more about the different types of IP addresses here). For example, if you want your computer’s IP address to always remain the same, you will be able to specify this through the device settings. This can be useful when forwarding a port, if you want to send certain data directly from your router to your computer’s IP address.
Since your IP address contains certain information about you, someone might want to use it for malicious purposes. There are a lot of ways people can get your IP address. 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, as there are countless free websites that allow you to do so.
- from a letter. If you email someone, they can check the message address, which may contain your IP address. Hey ho! Microsoft Outlook is known to include IP addresses in the email header.
- Click the link. Any link you click will need to provide your IP address to the server at the other end to deliver the content the link provides. Everyone who owns this server will see your IP address.
- By hacking your router. If someone guessed your router password and logged in, they can easily view your IP address.
- from the web server. Every time you visit a website, your IP address is collected and stored on a server. Anyone who owns this server can go and look up your IP address.
- Clicking on the ad. When you click on an ad, you give your IP address to the service provider. Some online ads can be created by malicious parties and put your security at risk.
- Participate in online forums. If you want to participate in many discussions when you are online at home, forum administrators can view your public IP address and explore your location.
- Connect to a fake hotspot. Hackers can set a fake hotspot, display your IP address and personal information, or 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 your IP address.
Is Tracking an Illegal IP Address?
Tracking your IP address is legal as long as it is not used for criminal activities. The websites you visit, the apps you use, and even your Internet service provider collect your IP address with other personal information.
However, individual users can also easily track your IP address. If they do not intend to harm you in any way, there is no law to prevent them from snooping on you – unless their curiosity involves hacking techniques or social engineering.
Does a VPN hide my IP address?
Yes it is. The VPN completely hides your IP address and encrypts your internet connection. Even better, a VPN prevents third parties like your ISP from eavesdropping on your data. Your online activity cannot be traced back to you, which gives you a strong layer of security.
NordVPN has over 5,500 servers in 59 countries, giving you the best speeds available. With a single NordVPN account, you can protect up to six different devices: smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more. You can also install it on your router and secure tools that do not directly support VPN functions.
You can jump from one server to another in seconds, change your IP address and hide your location. Protect your privacy online today.
Check out NordVPN on YouTube.
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What can people do with your IP address?
Although your IP address will not reveal sensitive information such as your phone number or the location of your apartment, hackers can still use your IP address against you. If the cybercriminal knows your IP address, the consequences can be dire:
Anyone can get hold of your location and intrude on your privacy in real life
Your IP address shows which city you are in, so if someone ill-intentioned detects it, you may be in trouble. Let’s say you announced that you are going for a vacation on your social media. The criminal just needs to do some extra digging to find and burglarize your house while you are away.
Anyone can use your IP address to hack your device
The Internet uses the ports in addition to your IP address to connect. There are thousands of ports for each IP address, and a hacker with your IP can try all these ports to force the connection, take over your phone for example and steal your information.
If a criminal gains access to your device, they can also install malware on it, which could expose your IP address.
Anyone can impersonate you to get your IP address
Your ISP may disclose your IP address to someone else. Criminals who know your name on social media can contact your ISP and try to impersonate you or use a phishing attack to steal your personal data. Remember that telecom operators are only humans using systems that contain huge amounts of personally identifiable information.
Employers can track your activity
IP addresses are owned by ISPs, and each IP address is assigned to the user. When you’re connected to your business network, your employers can see and track everything you do online – giving you almost no privacy at all.
Hacker can hit you with DDoS attack
If a hacker has your IP address, they can harm you with a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. A DDoS attack uses an army of computers under the control of a hacker to flood your device with traffic until it disconnects from the Internet and shuts down completely.
Cybercriminals can frame you for illegal activity
Hackers have been known to use compromised IP addresses to download illegal content that threatens national security as well as anything else they don’t want to be tracked. Protect your IP address, and you will protect yourself.
How can I prevent someone from using my IP address?
You should always protect any personally identifiable information even if you believe the risks do not apply to you. With enough determination, a bad actor can put together an entire identity just by being online, and your IP address can be the starting stone.
Here are three ways to protect your IP address and prevent you from being exploited by hackers:
- Change your privacy settings
- Update your firewall and router
- Use a VPN
Change the settings in all your instant messages and any other apps to “Private” and don’t accept calls or messages from people you don’t know. It is known that hackers can access your IP address through messaging apps like Skype.
A criminal can hack your router remotely and retrieve your IP address, especially if you are still using the default one. Change your router password regularly and be sure to use a long mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
A VPN will protect your IP address and private information. By routing your online data through a VPN server with its own IP address, you can prevent websites from logging information about your device and location. While you might be primarily interested in VPNs for their IP switching functionality, they also come with a bunch of additional features.
What other benefits can a VPN provide?
The VPN will create an encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN server. This means that no one can spy on your data as it travels from your device to the server – not even your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Data has never been more valuable. Your Internet Service Provider can monitor your activity and sell this information to advertisers and other third parties. Hackers can steal your passwords and use your details to launch phishing attacks. It is essential that you protect your data.
NordVPN offers a number of additional features that you may find particularly useful. Our CyberSec system will enhance your malware protection by protecting you from high-risk websites and other known threats. When the Kill Switch feature is enabled, you can avoid any unexpected data exposure. And thanks to the NordLynx protocol, you can enjoy unparalleled speeds, without compromising security.
Check out NordVPN on YouTube.
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