How can you ensure the safety of your internet browsing? What are the best practices to follow, how to implement them, and how to ensure that you have enough control over your data and personal information while connected to the internet, regardless of the web browser you use?
Everything you need to know about IP addresses
You may not realize it, but whenever you browse the internet, check your Facebook page, play online games, or communicate with your pals online, the rest of the world may identify you based on your digital address.
This “address” is your Internet Protocol Address, or IP address. It is a unique collection of numbers that uniquely identify computers or devices, allowing them to be distinguished from one another and communicate with one another.
Your computer or other digital devices function similarly to your physical address in that they need an address to communicate with another device. While this may seem innocuous, hackers may start attacks against you (or impersonate you) if they know your IP address.
Before we go into the specifics, it’s important to remember that locating and exploiting an individual’s IP address for cyber-attack objectives is just a portion of this malevolent system. To begin with, just being aware of your vulnerabilities and the steps you can take to improve your security is critical in all areas of your computer and internet usage.
What can others do with my IP address?
Cybercriminals seek your IP address for a variety of reasons. They may want to irritate you or wish to harm you. They want to search for IP addresses for three primary reasons:
1. Using your IP address and identity to download unlawful content
You may face serious consequences if they use your identity to unlawfully download films, music, videos, or even child pornography or content that poses a threat to national security. It is unnecessary to hold oneself accountable for crimes you did not commit. For instance, in 2012, an IP address was identified as the source of threats against local Indiana police, and it wasn’t until they pushed their way into the home and launched tear gas canisters that they discovered the source. SWAT discovered they had arrived at the incorrect location.
2. To establish a base from which to launch larger-scale assaults
With your IP address in hand, a cybercriminal may utilize geolocation technologies to determine the area in which you are located, your city, or your country. They do this to determine if your neighborhood is worthy of becoming their target. They may, for example, look for IP addresses in affluent or less security-savvy areas to make more money from their assaults or enter a system more quickly. When combined with the capacity to collect more information, a criminal can decide if you and the people you care about are suitable targets.
3. To launch a direct assault on your network
They are not only capable of using your IP address to conduct large-scale attacks but also of attacking your network directly and launching different assaults. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) assaults are some of the most common. This kind of cyber-attack happens when unscrupulous individuals utilize compromised computers to create a large number of requests in an attempt to overwhelm the target system or server. As a consequence, the server is unable to handle the volume of traffic and is obliged to shut down its services. Simply put, the assault disrupts your internet connection, preventing you from accessing critical resources. While this kind of assault is often used against video game businesses and services, it may also be used against people, although this is uncommon.
Because their displays are visible while streaming, online video game players are the most susceptible to this assault (hackers can then discover their IP address). If another player knows a player’s IP address, that person may launch a DDoS assault against that player, thereby eliminating them from the game and the internet. In the worst-case scenario, SWAT will arrive at your home after a cybercriminal specifies your location and dupes the police into coming there. Consider the following situation:
How are these crooks able to determine your IP address?
Cybercriminals are devilishly adept at locating your IP address, just as they are at locating personal information online to target users. Here are a few of these techniques.
They may attempt to mislead you into disclosing your IP address through social media. They may search for you on Skype or other chat applications, for example, since all of these programs interact through IP addresses. If you use these apps to communicate with strangers, keep in mind that they may see your IP address.
Additionally, thieves may determine your IP address by monitoring your internet activity. Any online behavior, not only the installation of malicious software, may expose your IP address, whether you’re playing video games or leaving comments on websites or forums.
After determining your IP address, the crooks will simply visit an IP address finder website, such as whatismyipaddress.com, and type in your IP address. They will be able to locate you. With little effort, hackers may search through references in publicly available data to determine if your IP address is connected to you. They may use LinkedIn, Facebook, or other social media platforms to determine your location and then compare it to the specified area. If a Facebook stalker attempts to install spyware on everyone with the same name as you, the IP address connected to your machine will very certainly alert the stalker that you are the correct person.
How can I safeguard my IP address? The most secure methods of Internet surfing.
In most cases, your internet service provider assigns you a dynamic IP address (which changes periodically). However, if you are running a web server from your house, you may request a static IP (which will never change). Which is the safest is still debatable. However, it’s self-evident that having a dynamic IP address is safer since it “is not a static target for cybercriminals,” as Steven Burn, Lead Malware Intelligence Analyst at Malwarebytes, puts it.
This, therefore, comes down to the measures you take to get a safe IP address. Here’s how you can keep your IP address safe from these crooks by using a few simple security settings and protocols.
1. Utilize a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN is a virtual private network (VPN) that encrypts your internet connection and shields it from prying eyes. A solution that is popular among experts but is also readily accessible to the general public. Why is this the case?
VPN. You may be familiar with these three letters. VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) were formerly primarily used in the business sector to safeguard internet connections, particularly when workers traveled overseas. Today, anybody may subscribe to such a service for any reason.
It encrypts and tunnels your internet data. It masks your IP address and routes your traffic via a different server, thus making the internet more secure for you. Burn asserts that VPN services are by far the best choice for protecting your internet company—you can locate them online and subscribe to their services every month. Additionally, there are free VPNs available, but do not anticipate them to be fast enough for any streaming or video games.
Additionally, you may utilize a proxy that acts as a hub for internet queries. All of this has been accomplished while concealing your IP address. Additionally, it can distinguish between genuine and illegitimate queries.
What is the purpose of a VPN?
Nowadays, the VPN has established a reputation among the general public. This is for a variety of reasons. If you do not disclose critical information, you may want to stay anonymous on the internet, whether for decency’s sake, because you really have anything to conceal, or just to ensure that nothing is filtered by sites and operators that gather navigation data.
Additionally, the best VPN enables access to services that are not always available in a particular region. While on vacation in China, for example, a VPN is necessary to access restricted websites and social networks.
Additionally, you may want to circumvent regional restrictions, such as subscribing to a streaming service such as Hulu in the United States, which is currently lagging in crossing the Atlantic. Something that, once again, has a VPN enabled. And, although Netflix is accessible to us, access through a VPN enables us to circumvent media timelines and other exclusives, allowing us to immediately view films and television shows reserved for American consumers. Finally, let us not fool ourselves; utilizing a VPN is also the most effective method to circumvent surveillance trackers. Additionally, the majority of them have a kill switch.
Remember that top VPNs provide their customers with unlimited VPN connections, safe online browsing, and money-back guarantees. If internet security is a priority, you just need to understand how to select the best VPN for your specific requirements.
2. Ensure that your router and firewall rules are up to date
Your router transports data across networks, while your firewall safeguards against unwanted access. Change your default router password immediately, since hackers often exploit these default passwords to gain access to your network. Each password supplied by your ISP is identical and readily accessible online. Additionally, ensure that your firewall rules prohibit ping from making internet requests. As a result, unauthorized people are prevented from accessing your network.
3. Modify the security settings of instant messaging apps
Allow direct connections with your contacts and refuse to accept messages or calls from strangers. Setting your settings to “private” will make it more difficult for others to discover your IP address since they will be unable to connect to you.
4. Maintain an up-to-date antivirus and install other protection applications
You will be safe from threats if you ensure that you do not miss any antivirus updates. Additionally, you may supplement your antivirus with additional security applications to further safeguard yourself. For instance, Heimdal Security filters URLs from phishing emails in addition to blocking potentially dangerous websites.
Protecting your IP address is a necessary component of identity protection. Additionally, protecting it with these procedures strengthens its defenses against the numerous assaults that hackers use nowadays.
Why should you conceal your IP address and how do you do so?
There are many reasons to conceal your IP address. Individuals may use IP addresses to determine your location, and they can do so with surprising precision at times.
These addresses also serve as a kind of identification, similar to phone numbers, enabling advertising firms and competitors to track your online activities. Additionally, they may be utilized to target and attack you.
Apart from privacy concerns, concealing your IP address may be a convenient method to surf the web. By concealing your IP address, you may access content that is restricted in some areas.
You can even conceal yourself from an onslaught of vigilantes or an authoritarian regime. When journalists operate in hazardous locations or on important topics, they often conceal their IP addresses. I am not encouraging anybody to violate the law; I just want to educate people on how to defend themselves if required.
By using a VPN, you may add a degree of protection. A VPN does not directly communicate with the website; rather, it establishes an encrypted tunnel between you and the website’s server. This server will subsequently connect to the public internet and, in most cases, obtain the required information. This information will then traverse the tunnel once again to reach your computer. This procedure guarantees that no one intercepts this information and that any observer (if there is one) sees the VPN’s IP address rather than yours.
If you use a VPN, the speed of your internet connection is likely to suffer as a result of the VPN’s activities. However, research indicates that even the finest VPNs will (somewhat) slow down the connection.
Not everyone needs the ability to conceal or protect their IP address. The vast majority of internet users do business in a relaxed manner. However, if you believe you need more protection, maybe to safeguard your privacy, concealing your IP address is a reasonable move. Then make informed decisions about which services to utilize. Proxy? Connection to a VPN? Or is it both? Adhere to your intuition. If there is no rating and the VPN is unexpectedly inexpensive, it may be prudent to seek it elsewhere. However, if you’ve discovered a proxy on certain forums, this may not be the best course of action.