With the never-ending news of one hack or security breach after another, internet users are understandably concerned about the safety of their online activities. Computer devices, electronic platforms, and almost anything that has something to do with them. Cyber security and privacy concerns have people worried about their electronic systems with internet connectivity. People wonder what could happen if someone has their IP address.
Internet Protocol address, IP address for short, is a unique string of numbers that acts as an identifier for a device used in accessing the internet and browsing websites. The IP address is assigned to a device by the Internet Service Provider (ISP) a user uses to access the internet. Your ISP or company network sets your device’s online IP address once you go online. The IP address is essential for identifying users’ devices and for sending and receiving information. Apart from identifying a device, your IP address has information that reveals your geolocation with details such as what country you are resident in, the city you are based, who your ISP is, and your zip code where it applies.
Although your IP address does not contain sensitive personal information such as your passwords, biodata, business, and financial transactions. If it falls into the wrong hands with criminal intent, it can be exploited for negative ends or to cause damage. Before going into what would happen if a user’s IP address falls into someone’s hands, let us see some of the ways others could get hold of our IP address.
One of the easiest ways for someone to find your IP address is through Torrent files. If your torrent files make it easy for all members of the swarm (the total number of leeches and seeders) to view your IP address, all they need to do is to check the list of peers and they will be able to see your complete IP address there. In addition to the type and version of the forest client, you are using. If you send an email, someone can simply check the email messages header since it could contain your IP address. Not all emails reveal a user’s IP address, though. For instance, Gmail doesn’t. Also, someone can find your IP address if you have a website hosted on your server in your home. An intruder could simply open their operating system command and ping the website domain. When this is done, the command prompt will return the website’s address. If someone uses your Wi-Fi network in your home, the user could just use Google and search “what is my IP address” and the IP address will be shown instantly. Having noted how your IP address can be found, we now turn to what could happen if someone gets hold of your IP. The following are possible outcomes or consequences:
- Tracking Down Your Location: It is quite an easy thing to accomplish and website users’ visits automatically detect their location. All IP addresses are attached to countries and some to particular cities. When a person with criminal intent uses your IP address to track down the city and district you are resident in and they get to know that you are traveling, perhaps through following you on social media, They can search deeper, locate your house and rob it in your absence. But a Bulletproof Privacy Network (BPN) like Hoody can help you with this. It can help you keep your privacy and security. When you use Hoody with your browser, each tab and websites gets its own IP, location, and new Fingerprints, and makes tracking impossible.
- Hack into Your Devices: If someone knows your IP address (especially a cybercriminal), the person could try to connect to your computer directly. Every device has ports that enable various services to connect to it. For every IP, there are tens of thousands of ports. A hacker who knows your IP can try to brute-force a connection. Once successful, they can take control of your computer and other devices and use them to steal your data which could be used to perpetrate cyber fraud, identity theft, and breach of privacy.
- Impersonation: Hackers and close acquaintances with fraudulent intent could use your IP to get your ISP. And hackers that know your Facebook name and other details could call your ISP and using your IP and some personal information about you, trick your ISP to believe they are you. Once they are successful they can have access to your sensitive personal information that they could use to breach your privacy. Commit financial crimes and steal from you. Examples of this abound.
- Face DDoS Attack: If hackers know your IP address, they can harm you by launching a Distributed Denial of Service Attack. A DDoS attack controlled by a hacker can flood your computer with so much traffic that it disconnects from the internet and completely shuts down.
In conclusion, while a lot of people do not attach much importance to their IP address considering it of less importance, as shown above, a lot of damage could be done to users if it is handled carelessly.