The IP address of your network-enabled device plays a crucial role in sending off or receiving information from the web. Your IP address might not reveal much about your personal information. However, abusing an IP address can be a golden opportunity for hackers. What can a hacker do with your IP address?
If you need a clue about how hackers can exploit your IP address, this guide is for you. In addition, we have added how you can identify whether someone has hacked your IP address. For safety reasons, you should also check out how to keep your IP address and digital identity secure.
Let’s get started without further ado.
Ways Hackers Can Trace Your IP Address
You might have already known your device’s IP address is a string of alphanumeric characters, and it acts like a digital address for online traffic. On the other hand, your ISP assigns a particular IP address to every device. For example, your IP address will change if you move on from your current location.
Your IP address holds a bunch of information about you and your device. And, hackers or cybercriminals can abuse your IP address for their benefit. How can hackers track an IP address? Well, here are a few instances that might clarify your perception:
Click on an Ad or Link
Whenever you open a link, the server on the other end wants to see your IP address. The same goes for an advertisement or its service provider. Whoever acquires the server or service can easily check out your IP address. Indeed, hackers create online advertisements to get IP addresses and trap corresponding device details.
A Visit to any Website Server
Here’s another way how hackers find your location. No doubt, you keep visiting websites. Every time you land on a website, your IP address gets collected on the respective server. So, someone who owns that particular server can easily capture your IP address.
Participation in Online Activities
Are you a member of any certain online forum? Online forum administrators can watch your public IP address and estimate your location. In addition to this, your IP address can be revealed if you fill out online forms.
Through Hotspots and Social Networks
Mostly, cybercriminals can ambush their identity by setting up a fake Wi-Fi hotspot. These types of hotspots don’t require a password to join. In addition, they can get your IP address and affect your device with malicious software.
Moreover, different social media platforms can gather your and your device’s data by capturing the IP address. Hence, you should be careful while joining any public Wi-Fi network and sharing details over social media platforms.
Social Engineering and P2P File Sharing Attack
Cybercriminals can go a long way to unveil your IP address by practising deceptive tricks or impersonating themselves. Additionally, if you share data on P2P file-sharing networks, whoever you connect to over the medium can track your IP address.
How Can a Hacker Use (or More Likely Abuse) Your IP Address?
Your IP address is not a gateway to access your phone number or accurate location. However, it still possesses a way to get multiple information about you. How hackers use your IP address to hack your computer & how to stop it – we got you covered. A cybercriminal can exploit your IP address in the following malicious perspectives:
1. Forward Customised Spam to You
You will find out that advertisers have found genius ways to capture your IP addresses. Advertisers can even embed tracking software into their online articles. So, these trackers can get your IP address and send off personalised ads relying on your browsing history.
An example will make thongs clearer. You might have read an article about how a specific medication works. In the next moment, you may receive ads and emails from your nearby pharmacies.
2. Find your Approximate Geographical Location
What can a hacker do with an IP address? Reportedly, most hackers attempt to crack your geographical location from the IP address perceived. Indeed, your IP address can’t be specific about your house number, street name, etc.
So, what kind of address information can your IP address leak? Here’s what you need to know:
- Your state or country
- Your city
- The ZIP code of your location
Now, hackers can gather more details about you if they are aware of your social media profiles. It’s an easy job, especially when you share photos and videos on your social media handle. They can precisely determine your home or work location if they want to stalk or rob you somehow.
3. Hack Your System
The internet makes use of ports and your IP address to keep you connected. Since each IP address owns multiple ports, any hacker can compromise your network by deploying methods. And, they often succeed in connecting to any device that is susceptible to falling for such threats.
Well, the consequence can be horrible. Once a cybercriminal accesses a device, they can steal whatever information they wish. Otherwise, they can even inject malware into your device. You will hardly know something is happening with your computer behind your back.
4. Sell Out IP Addresses and Other Confidential Data
What happens if a hacker gets your IP address? Hackers can even access your PII or personally identifiable information via phishing techniques. So, your personal data is out. And, your IP address, usernames, and credentials might be sold out at a high price on the dark web. Indeed, most hackers indulge themselves in such criminal activities.
5. Employers can Trace Your Activities
Apart from hackers or similar digital enthusiasts, your employer can sneak into your network. Then, your employer can track whatever you’re doing online. In addition, anybody on your home network can track your activities with dedicated tools and techniques.
6. ISPs and Other Service Providers Might Ban Your IP Address
Your ISP knows your IP address, for sure. They can ban you or blocklist your IP address from accessing definite websites. Similarly, gaming and entertainment sites, social networks, etc., service providers can also ban IP addresses from accessing specific content and websites. However, this generally happens if your activities are sceptical.
7. Frame You with DDoS Attack or Something More Severe
DDoS attacks are hackers’ go-to tricks to take over computers. In addition, cybercriminals can exploit IP addresses for illegal activities. They can impersonate your digital identity and buy illegal or banned things with your IP address.
How Can You Tell That Your IP Address has been Compromised?
You have already seen how hackers can use your IP address, and end results can be terrifying. What to do if my IP address is hacked? Here are a few signs to watch out for:
- You will end up landing on a website that you haven’t looked for.
- In addition, you will get more pop-ups than ever before.
- Your friends and family may get weird emails, requests, and more from you. And, you have no idea about them.
- Your web browser is full of strange extensions, add-ons, and toolbars.
- Moreover, you might be unable to sign into your accounts because the respective passwords don’t seem to work anymore.
- The internet connection is clumsy and unstable.
- Your device seems to be slow, glitchy, and underperforming. And, all these symptoms indicate a malware attack.
- Your mouse pointer starts moving independently, or you cannot control the camera or microphone access.
- Additionally, your computer might warn you about data breaching often.
- You get ransomware messages. Worst, the police might contact you for something you haven’t done.
How to Prevent Someone from Using Your IP Address?
This is a million-dollar question in the cybersecurity world right now. Here’s how to stop someone from abusing your IP address:
- Start using a trusted VPN service to hide your IP address and encrypt your online traffic.
- Next, look for software updates to maximise your device’s security.
- Install compatible antivirus software on all your network-enabled devices.
- In addition, prep up a firewall for filtering your incoming traffic.
- Assign WPA-2 or higher security protocols to your Wi-Fi networks.
- Moreover, use a reliable password manager to enhance your digital security and privacy.
- Maximise your web browser’s privacy settings to keep cybercriminals at bay.
- Regularly check your bank statements and credit reports.
- In addition, don’t overshare anything on your social media platforms. For instance, don’t give out your phone number, email address, and financial details on any platform.
- Try dedicated tools to alert you about identity theft, data leaks, and other scams.
Is it Legal to Track Anyone’s IP Address?
Yes, anybody can trace your IP address if they don’t indulge in something unethical or illegal. For example, your ISP, websites you visit, etc., can trace your IP address for data that might benefit their interest. In other words, no law can forbid anybody from snooping on your IP address.
However, implementing social engineering techniques or intentions to do something harmful with your IP address is illegal. Hopefully, this guide clarifies how hackers can use your IP address and how to stop it.