Most of us are familiar with the fact that our IP addresses are public – just like our real residential addresses or telephone numbers.
However, we usually don’t realize how that information can be used against us and abused. Although we’re familiar with the consequences of someone finding out our residential address or telephone number, not many people are disturbed with the tracking of their online credentials.
For most people, IP tracking isn’t an issue because they’re unaware of it happening. Since it’s not something physically visible, it is hard for people to even think about it, let alone know if they’re in danger. Nevertheless, it’s something that’s taking place daily. Numerous websites are tracking IP addresses for various benefits, so if you’re not comfortable with that, it’s crucial to know how to put a stop to it.
What is your IP address?
IP address, or Internet Protocol Address, is a special combination of numbers and characters marking each internet hardware device. Every Internet Service Provider, or ISP, gives out IP addresses to the devices using their internet services.
Contrary to the common belief, these combinations aren’t just random numbers, as they’re closely calculated and monitored by internet providers. Namely, when you request to go online or visit any website, you’re in reality asking your provider. Only when they grant your IP address access can you go and surf the internet.
So, to say it in simple terms, IP address is your online residency. Whatever you do on the internet is a part of your online identity and probably isn’t as safe as you’d like to believe.
Your IP isn’t safe
As we already mentioned, an IP address isn’t as safe as many people like to believe. If you can’t find traces of unusual activity, it is natural to assume you are safe. Still, this isn’t necessarily so.
Every internet user has an IP address for everyday use of the internet. This includes uploading, downloading, and sharing all kinds of data. However, IP addresses are public and visible to anyone, so any unprotected internet activity can have serious consequences.
For example, various websites already use your online identity and IP address to show more personalized suggestions in order to create conditions for improved engagement. Although some people find this useful, others believe it’s harming their online privacy. Also, some websites could be collecting our data for more sinister activities.
How your IP can be abused
IP address abuse is something that happens daily. Although not all websites have the same intentions, tracking IP addresses can have countless purposes:
- Online Tracking – Websites track your online presence to learn more about you and give you personalized suggestions. This includes your age, personal details, location, preferences, and much more.
- The Intrusion of Privacy – Based on your IP address, websites can find out exactly where you’re located in real life and intrude on your privacy.
- Hacking – As your device is connected to a specific IP address, hackers can use it to gain access to your device. With that, they can steal information, personal data and install malware on their device.
- Identity Theft – Some of the most serious cases include identity theft. With only an IP address, websites can find out your personal information and impersonate you to gain some profit in return.
- Framing – Finally, various websites are controlled by cybercriminals who are always looking for ways of framing someone else for their crimes. So, if your IP address is unprotected and vulnerable, they might detect it and use it for various criminal activities.
Hiding your IP can help
All of the above-mentioned issues can be resolved. Hide IP addresses to conceal your online tracks as well as your identity, personal information, and private data.
There are numerous ways of protecting your IP, but keep in mind some of them are more effective than others. Namely, resetting your hardware device gives you a new IP address, but that one is equally visible to the public as the previous one. So, consider more permanent solutions such as using a Proxy server or VPN. If you’re interested in learning more about how to hide IP address, read this article and find out more.
How to do It
- Public Wi-Fi – By using a public network, you can hide your IP address. However, being connected to a public network means you’re also easily detected, and anyone can gain access to your device.
- Proxy – Proxy servers are one of the best solutions for protecting your data and masking your online tracks. They provide you with a new IP address, making it impossible to trace anything back to you.
- VPN – Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is another great solution for private web surfing. It provides you with a safety tunnel that encrypts all your data. This way, everything you do is protected – from IP address to personal identity and data.
To sum it up, all kinds of websites use your information, whether that’s for personalized offers or other goals. So, now it’s more important than ever to protect your online identity and keep all your personal information safe and secure. To do that, consider using a proxy server to hide an IP address.