Your IP address is one of the most vulnerable pieces of information you reveal online. Since many users don’t pay much attention to IP address security, hackers can easily get their hands on this shortcode that carries important personal data. While an IP address cannot reveal your passwords, it can be used to spy on your geographical location and similar metrics. Thus, you should keep this numerical label safe and hidden from third parties.
What Can People Do With Your IP Address
As you might already know, every website you visit records your IP address in their database. With that in mind, third parties can easily get their hands on this piece of information and use it for whatever they have in mind. Here are three ways your IP address can be used against you:
1 To Block Your Access to Websites
If you’ve ever broken the rules or privacy policies on public forums, gaming hubs, or other websites, chances are you got blocked by the administrators of the site. Even though you probably didn’t know it, the site administrators used your IP address to ban you from their server. This is called the IP ban, and it allows site managers to control who has access to their pages, forums, and services. Therefore, an IP address can be used to restrict access to certain websites and content sources whenever necessary.
2 Reveal Personal Information
As we’ve already mentioned, this numerical label carries a certain level of private information. Although it is not packed with crucial data, it does reveal significant facts such as your geographical location. Most IPs offer location info that is limited to a city or a state. It is rare for an IP address to pinpoint the exact street or neighborhood you’re in, although this is not impossible either. IPs also carry the name of your Internet Service Provider, which when combined with other pieces of data, can draw a better picture of your online identity.
3 Perform Denial of Service Attacks
Lastly, hackers can use your IP address to direct DDoS attacks to your servers. During one of these attacks, your network gets flooded with countless requests until it entirely crashes. The goal behind implementing DDoS attacks is to prevent a network from functioning properly or to fully shut it down and cause a disruption in service. Either way, DDoS attacks are usually geared toward companies and larger organizations rather than individuals. However, you should still be careful with your IP address since the low odds don’t mean you are completely safe from risk.
How to Protect Your IP Address
While an IP address cannot be used to hack into your device, you should still make sure certain security measures are set to protect this piece of information. If you wondered “how can I hide my IP,” here are a couple of simple and easy solutions to consider.
1 Set Up a Firewall
Most routers nowadays have built-in firewalls that will keep your IP address protected online. Make sure to check whether your router has automatic firewall protection and whether its firewall is activated. If not, you can easily configure the built-in firewall by following tutorials such as this one.
2 Use a VPN
By far the best way to protect your IP address is to use a VPN or virtual private network service. Not only will this service hide your IP, but it will also ensure full online privacy. A VPN replaces your real location with a virtual one, making you appear completely private on the internet. That way, you can take advantage of a secure online environment, and bypass unwanted geo-restrictions.
Raising Awareness About IP Address Privacy
Since IP addresses are not considered “vital” to your online security, they are not always treated as a priority from a cybersecurity perspective. However, it is crucial to consider every aspect of online security when protecting your personal data and devices. With that said, start by implementing the necessary measures that will boost your online security, including setting up a firewall and a VPN server.
Since IP security is relevant in both personal and professional settings, your efforts to raise awareness about it will result in better security habits. Whether you work in a team or share a router with family, make sure the internet users in your environment are aware of the potential risks of leaving your IP address exposed.