What Is An IP Address?
An IP address (Internet Protocol address) is like a unique identity number of your device and of the network you are connected to by an ISP (Internet service provider). There are four parts in the IPv4 IP address. Each is a number from 0 to 255 separated by periods. So, it would look something like this- 126.96.36.199 in IPv4 and like this 2001:db8:0:1234:0:567:8:1 in IPv6.
It acts like the sender’s address written in a letter. If, for instance, your online request for a particular data is a letter, your IP address works as the return address on the envelope. Whenever a request for information is made on the internet, the response is sent back to that device by getting it’s IP address.
Still, the device’s address is rarely directly addressable over the internet. It is the IP address of the router that is shared. The router acts as a bridge to connect personal devices with the internet. In a way, the IP address helps a method to communicate with other devices in a network and exchange information.
Access Your Location
So, the IP address is an actual “address” of your device. Now you may very well understand that an IP address will allow others to access your location, but it won’t reveal an exact location. Your country, city, or nearby cities and the kind of sites you surf can be known if someone has your IP address. According to this Router Login website, hackers and advertisers or the government can get an idea of who you are, what you are into by accessing your IP address and you can still be safe.
Searching Habit Are Harmful
Your searching habits and geolocation can help hackers achieve their motives quickly. They can impersonate you and send information or intercept your banking transactions. If the advertisers know about your ad preferences, they can bug you by showing highly targeted ads.
Mask Your IP Address
You can mask your IP address to protect your privacy on the internet and also bypass content restrictions. It will help you to keep your searches private, access websites, and browse anonymously, saving your information and location secure. Connecting to public Wi-Fi will mask your IP address, but it wouldn’t eliminate the possibility of serious risks posed by hackers who are ready to intercept your online activities. For example, they can swoop in during any money transactions.
Surely the internet is not as safe a platform to be on, but a few measures on your side can help keep your information protected and secure from online threats.
Ways To Hide IP Address
There are many ways to hide one’s IP address. The most secure method is using a VPN software service.
VPN or Virtual Private Network uses a go-between server, i.e., if you are connected to a VPN and request for any information on the internet then it would get encrypted and routed to a remote server which will send back the results from the internet.
So, the websites and online apps will only see the server’s IP address and not your own. Available and trusted VPNs that most people use include ExpressVPN, Surf Shark, CyberGhost, NordVPN, and many more. These services require you to pay some amount per month/year, and then you are just a few clicks away to use a secure and protected network.
No Free VPNs
Free VPNs are not so safe to use. There are risks involved in using a free VPN. The free service provided by these VPNs is possible due to advertising, so, there are chances of them selling your data to these advertisers, and according to research done by security experts.
Even the apps that have passed the Play Protect scanning might still contain an undetected malicious source code that can only be detected by third-party virus scanning apps as this code is often hidden deep within the app source code. The purpose of the malicious code is usually to monitor your online activity, as well as to install spyware on your device. Third-party servers can use your data for malpractices.
A Proxy Server
A proxy server can also be used. It is just like a VPN, but a VPN can encrypt and secure all of your network traffic, whereas a proxy server only acts as a gateway for anonymous web browsing and managing content restrictions. Proxy servers like Squid, Nginx, and many other free servers are available, but using a VPN is highly recommended.
The Onion Router
Tor (The Onion Router) is free and open-source software that uses nodes to mask IP addresses by moving your network traffic to different servers across the world. Due to the free anonymity provided by Tor, it has attracted many criminals and misusers too. It is not as safe as a VPN.
Above points will tell you all the about your IP address and how you can prevent yourself with hackers and be safe always.