How to Be Mindful of Your IP Address

We always see and hear about an IP address but often don’t give enough attention to it while online. Whether it’s the little anti-virus reminder that your location can be tracked or the actual listed address at the bottom of your browser, we’re confronted with it almost daily. Yet the importance and risks of an exposed IP address are constantly overlooked. 

One of the ways you can protect it is by using location-specific UK proxies. UK proxies protect your device’s IP address from third parties and provide a safer online experience while also making it appear that you’re accessing the internet from within the UK when you’re in another country. However, to fully understand why these proxies are necessary, you must understand the risks of an exposed IP address.

Definition of IP Address

IP address stands for Internet Protocol address, and each device has a unique series of numbers assigned to it. IANA (Internet Assigned Number Authority) produces the series of numbers, which is then assigned to every device, and your ISP (Internet Service Provider) activates the address. This series of numbers is basically like an identification tag for your device.

To the average citizen, it’s just a random number sequence. However, to someone who knows what they’re doing, it contains a lot of information. This information includes your physical location, name and surname, operating system, device information, and even online activity.

Which Third Party Wants The Information and Why

Several third parties can easily access this number tag, although not all have malicious intent. Businesses often access it to track your address and activity so that they can create a buyer profile for you. Once the profile is created, they can send personalized ads, offers, and more.

Online forums, blogs, and websites also use it to identify you and either block your account or connect you with information relevant to your geolocation. Often, online websites use it as an identification tag that logs you into the system. However, these aren’t always the only intentions behind accessing it.

Hackers and other cyber criminals use it for nefarious means. One of the dangers is them using it to carry out cyber crimes and leaving your digital fingertip behind, also called spoofing. In this case, all evidence of the crime will point towards you instead of the hacker. 

Another danger is that it allows them to hack your personal device and access any sensitive information on it. Hacking your device doesn’t just mean access to files, documents, and images on your device, but also things like saved passwords, bank account login details, and other sensitive data.

Using measures such as proxies or VPNs are a good solution to keep your IP hidden and your data safe. For example, using UK proxies will provide you with an IP in the UK which will be shown to websites and platforms instead of your real IP.

How Can Your IP be Accessed

It would be best to stay mindful of how your device’s Internet Protocol address can be accessed. There are several ways, some of which not all people are aware of or consider.

Wireless Network

This series of numbers is always available when you use any wireless connection, whether it’s a public or private one. You often see the small tag at the bottom of your browser giving these numbers and your location, which means an unprotected network also gives that information to businesses and hackers. If someone connects to the same network as you, they can instantly access that series of numbers containing your data.

Borrowing Your Device

Anyone using your device can quickly identify this series of numbers using the command sequence ipconfig/all command or an online website that identifies your address. Lending your device to a stranger is never a good idea.

Social Media Channels

Administrators of social media channels have access to it, as it’s needed to identify and block your device. Clicking on any link or ad in a social media channel also means the link or ad owner can access your device, as it’s a way for these companies to target you with relevant ads.

Messaging Apps

While you might not consider this, messaging apps like Whatsapp, Viber, and Telegram also use it when sending messages. Since messaging apps also use your address, you don’t even have to be “online” per se for it to become exposed. Due to end-to-end encryption on many of these platforms, your address might not be available to the other app users, but it’s available to any link owners of links you click on while using the app and the app administrators.

Forum Interaction

Logging into forums or blogs and commenting or otherwise interacting on the site means the administrators have access to your IP address to identify you. While other users can’t access it, skilled hackers can access your information using these forums and blogs if you don’t stay vigilant.

Staying Paranoid is Being Aware

Often it’s said that being paranoid is unreasonable. However, in this case, staying paranoid means staying aware and not allowing your personal information to be released to third parties. While businesses and websites don’t necessarily have bad intentions, it’s still an unauthorized third party that gains access to sensitive information like your location and online activity. 

Hackers and cybercriminals can also illegally access your IP address by hacking your device or the online website’s server. It would be best to stay aware of how it can become exposed, as this will ensure you can add measures against it, like using proxies and the like.