Your IP address is very important when sending and receiving information online. However, if a hacker knows your IP address, they can use it to get valuable information, including your location and online identity. Hackers will then use this information to hack your device, steal your identity, and much more.
Very little discussion revolves around the topic “What if someone knows your IP address”. Hackers can use your IP to carry out cyber attacks and phishing. However, before learning about the above topic, I want you to understand what an IP address is through this article.
How Hacker can know your IP?
Your IP address is a unique string of numbers assigned to you by your ISP. If you connect to a different Wi-Fi or move house, the IP will change with your location.
Most ISPs use a dynamic, non-fixed IP for your device, but you can also use a static IP if you want. For example, if you want your computer’s IP address to always stay the same, then you can buy a static IP package from your network operator or use Ngork to open the Port. Static IPs are handy for port forwarding (opening ports), whereby certain data is sent directly from the router to your computer’s IP.
Since your IP address contains certain information about you, hackers will want to use it for malicious purposes. There are many ways for hackers to get your IP. Here are a few examples:
- Download torrent files: When you download content from torrent sites, all members (including seeders and leechers) can see your IP address.
- Borrow your device: If someone borrows or uses your computer, they can find out your IP address in seconds, as there are plenty of free websites that let you do that.
- From email: If you email someone, the header of the email may contain your IP address. Yahoo! and Microsoft Outlook are known to include IP addresses in email headers.
- Click the affiliate link: Any link you click will give your IP address to the server to display the content of the link. Anyone who owns that server can see your IP address.
What can hackers do with your IP?
While your IP address won’t provide sensitive information like your phone number or the location of your apartment, hackers can still use your IP against you. If cybercriminals know your IP address, the consequences can be very serious:
Get your location and invade your privacy
Your IP address indicates which city you are in, so if a hacker has bad intentions, you could be in trouble. Let’s say you post on social media sites that you’re going on a trip for a few days. Criminals only need a little searching to find your home address and steal while you’re traveling. It’s also one of 10 things you shouldn’t post on social media.
Hack your device
The easiest to understand is that if your home camera is not securely configured, hackers can access the camera, then your IP.
The Internet uses your ports as well as your IP address to connect to each other. There are thousands of ports in your IP address and a hacker with your IP can try to brute-force all those ports to connect to your phone and steal your information, for example.
If criminals gain access to your device, they can also install malware on it, like backdoors, viruses, keyloggers, etc.
Impersonate you to get your IP address
Your ISP may disclose your IP address to others. Hackers will get your name on social networks and contact your ISP. Then try to impersonate you to steal your personal information. Carriers are just users of systems with large amounts of personally identifiable information.
The company can track your activity
The IP is owned by the ISP and each IP is assigned to a user. When you connect to a corporate network, that company can see and track everything you do online. You have no privacy rights in the company. Usually they don’t have bad intentions, the company does that so you don’t surf facebook, play games, etc. during working hours.
Attack you with DDoS attacks
If a hacker has your IP address, they can attack you with DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. DDoS attacks use an army of computers controlled by hackers to clog your device with massive amounts of traffic to disconnect it from the Internet.
Cybercriminals can use your IP to commit crimes
Hackers will use hacked IP addresses to download illegal content. Protecting your IP address is protecting yourself.
How to prevent Hackers from using your IP address?
You should always protect any personally identifiable information even when you think there is no risk. With enough determination, a hacker can get all your identities.
Here are three ways to protect your IP address and prevent hackers from using it:
Change your privacy settings
Change the settings on all your messaging software and any other apps, and don’t accept calls or texts from people you don’t know. Hackers can access your IP address through messaging apps like Skype.
Update your firewall and router
Cybercriminals can remotely hack your router and get your IP address, especially if you’re still using the default settings. Change your router password regularly and use upper and lower case passwords, numbers, and special characters.
VPN completely hides your IP address and encrypts your internet connection. Even more secure, VPNs filter content as well as prevent third parties like ISPs from tracking your data. Your online activities cannot be traced, giving you a strong layer of security.
So that’s all hackers can do with your IP address and how you can prevent it.