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The internet is highly advantageous to human life today. It is used for several things which include communication, ease of transportation, and finance. However, it is chiefly because of our reliance on the internet that the World Wide Web is getting to be a more dangerous platform. If you become a victim in any way to these dangers, it could prove disastrous for you emotionally, physically and possibly financially.
We give out a lot of information while surfing the internet. However, one of the biggest ways personal information can be gotten from you is through your IP address. An IP address, AKA an Internet Protocol address, is a tag composed of numbers that are assigned to a device capable of surfing the internet. In essence, an IP address acts as a home address for an online user’s identification.
Ways Your IP Address is Exposed
There are numerous ways your IP address can be extracted from your device. Depending on how cybersecurity conscious you are, it could be easy for hackers or quite hard to get. You need to understand that once your IP address is gotten, you will be vulnerable. The only way to secure yourself in that kind of situation would be to change your IP address.
The various methods by which your IP address can be gotten from you are outlined below.
1. IP Address Extraction Through Ping
Ping still remains the simplest way to obtain a user’s IP address. It is, however, not often used to get the IP address of an individual except the person who hosts his/her website from home.
Getting an IP address of a website with ping is so simple that you merely need to launch a single program on your computer to ping a certain website. Immediately you do so, the IP address of that website would be revealed to you.
2. IP Address Extraction Through Skype
Getting a user’s IP address through Skype is quite easy. From the username of the person, you would be able to extract his/her IP address. This method is so simple that the Skype user needs not to be added before the IP address can be obtained. Also, it could be gotten even when the user is not online.
3. IP Address Extraction Through Suspicious Links
This method is highly used to get the IP address of the average internet surfer. It involves an anonymous user sending a website address to the victim to be clicked. Obviously, to the individual whose IP address is about to be siphoned, the link would look like any normal website link. Once the link is clicked, the website on which the victim lands logs his/her IP address.
If you think your IP address can’t be gotten this way because you hardly click on links sent to you, think twice! These hackers are quite proficient at sending headers that would be sure to pique your interest. Through extensive studying of your profile, the hacker would be able to determine activities you like and come up with a header that would entice you to click.
For instance, if you post a lot about money on your timeline, the hacker would run his/her link through a link shortener to mask his/her website and attach it to a captivating header like ‘See the best ways to make money online passively’. The hacker could also mask his/her website to seem like that of a reputable website to ensure your fall into the trap.
4. IP Extraction Through Gaming Servers
There are several games out there that are not hosted by the game developers but by the players who enjoy these games. When a gamer sets up the server, other gamers would be able to connect to it through an IP address.
Ordinarily, this action wouldn’t make your IP address available to other gamers. However, if you connect to a server that was created just for stealing IP addresses, then it would ultimately be available for the host to siphon.
This could prove dangerous as gamers could be really competitive. If the individual hosting the server you’re connected to gets angry with you during the game, he/she could use your IP address for malicious means.
Securing your IP Address
Having your IP address in the hands of other individuals could be damaging to you. Hackers can make use of your IP address to facilitate online activity thereby implicating you in the process. Your IP address can also be used by cyber-criminals to attack your online security.
Since you have knowledge of the numerous ways your IP address can be used against you, it would be best to learn how to secure it. The various ways you can protect your IP address are discussed below.
1. Utilize a VPN
Downloading a VPN is the singular best way to protect your IP address from hackers. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and primarily acts as a protective wall between a device’s internet connection and its internet service provider. A VPN also masks a user’s IP address, giving off the IP address to those trying to spy on it as that of the VPN.
For instance, if you’re in London and you make use of a VPN, connecting to a location in Canada, your location would be seen as that of the VPN’s server in Canada. It wouldn’t matter if you’re connecting to a game server that’s stealing IPs or clicking links from IP address hackers. Your IP address would still be protected courtesy of your VPN.
Another added advantage of a VPN is that it makes geo-restricted content available for anyone anywhere in the world.
2. Improving your Password
A lot of people use easy-to-guess passwords to ‘secure’ their network. Hackers are very smart at what they do and can easily guess passwords using information like your birthday, relatives’ names, and year of birth and so on.
You need to create a password that practically isn’t a word and is a mix of numbers, symbols, and alphabets. However, while setting your password for your network, remember that the difficulty of a password could be a two-edged sword. It could be hard for you to remember your new password and get locked out of your network. You can make use of a password manager to avoid this.
3. Use an Antivirus
You need to make use of antivirus to stop IP address hacks. You can also decide to add anti-malware software for added security. Also, ensure you frequently update your antivirus as outdated software could be potential avenues for your cybersecurity to get breached.
Getting your IP address hacked by cyber-criminals could prove to be dangerous for you. Hackers make use of individuals’ IP addresses to perpetrate illegal online activities that could implicate one. To prevent this, you can decide to make use of a VPN, get antivirus on your device, and update your password strength.