Identity theft has been a major problem in the last couple of years, and unfortunately, one of the easiest ways a person can identify you is through your IP (Internet Protocol) address. Of course, there are various ways to hide your IP and protect your information while using the internet. This article will cover some of the best.
How much time do you spend on the web? Do you share any information online? If you spend a significant amount of time browsing, you may unknowingly expose yourself to people who may have bad motives. Regardless of the personal info you have, someone out there can use it to their advantage and your disadvantage. An IP address is a number assigned to a piece of hardware connected to a network. That piece of hardware could be your personal computer, smartphone, tablet or laptop.
What Can a Person Do With Your IP Address?
There are several things that a cybercriminal may do with your IP. Some of the more alarming ones are:
Use Your Location for Direct Attacks
Cybercriminals can also use your IP address to target your network and launch a number of direct attacks. DDoS attacks happen to be one of the most popular choices. They occur when cyber criminals utilize previously infected machines to create a huge volume of requests to flood a servers. These requests create a server overload which results in a disruption of services. If you regularly game on the internet, your IP address is particularly vulnerable for the creation of such attacks.
Download Illegal Content Under Your IP
Anything that threatens national security, pirated movies, music and even child pornography downloaded through your IP may put a target on your back for law enforcement.
So, How Do You Protect Your IP Address?
You’re either given a dynamic or constant IP address by your Internet service provider. There’s debate on which one is safer, but a dynamic IP is arguably more secure since there is no constant target for the attacker. However, if there is something susceptible to attack on the Internet Protocol, being dynamic won’t help.
There are several other steps you can take to secure your IP. Those can range from using a proxy or a VPN (which I’ll go into next), to becoming completely anonymous with Tor. These are the exact steps I use when I hide my IP address. You don’t have to follow them all to a tee, but the more of these precautions you take, the safer you will be.
Update Your Firewall and Router Rules
A router connects data between networks, and the firewall protects your network or machine from unauthorized access. Make sure that you change your login and password regularly and set your firewall rules not to allow ping requests, one of the most common methods of attack.
Protecting your internet protocol address is crucial to protecting your identity. Hiding your IP address through one or all of the above methods is the best way to remain safe while using the internet.
Use a VPN
Perhaps the best to way to hide your IP is by encrypting your data. A VPN protects your IP address by redirecting your traffic through another server. This makes it safer for you to browse online. You can access restricted content in your region, gain access to blocked websites in your institution and even hide your online activity from your ISP. There are numerous VPN services. Some are free, and some cost money. The best one for you will depend on your browsing needs. If this is something you’re interested in, see my guide one how to pick a VPN provider.
You could also run a proxy, which functions as an additional hub that processes internet requests while protecting the identity of your IP address.
Add Security Layers and Update Your Antivirus Program
Ensuring that you are up to date with your security software protects you from online threats. Adding extra layers of security on top of your primary antivirus program further protects you. For example, free security software Malwarebytes blocks malicious links from emails and provides online protection. If a cyber criminal sends you a link designed to disclose your IP address, the software will discover and prevent this, thus protecting your identity.
Change Privacy Settings on IM Apps
Never accept calls from people you do not know and only allow direct connection from your contacts. Changing your settings to private prevents people from tracking your IP address and from strangers connecting with you.