What is the big deal about your IP address?
With just a click of a button, your location, credit card details, browsing history, and a host of other confidential information about you may disclose to anyone interested in them. This is done through the instrumentality of an IP address.
What is an IP address?
About Your IP Address: In its simplest form, an IP (Internet Protocol) address refers to a specially assigned numerical identifier attached to any piece of hardware that is network equipped. Every device on your network has its own unique IP address which could either be static or dynamic. The static IP addresses mean they are the same all the time and do not change but the dynamic address changes from time to time.
Computers use IP addresses to recognize each other and to send cookies to other devices in order to remember sessions. Whenever you visit a website, your ISP uses your IP address to source that website and to bring it right in front of your screen. It is usually in the form of a 32-bit number that underscores your internet identity, expressed in decimal format. It could be something like 192.168.143.132.
The IP address enables and makes interactions with other devices in the network. In other words, the interconnection of networks, otherwise known as the internet would not have been made possible without the help of an IP address. Apart from this, an IP address can equally be used for locating or identifying other devices on the network, enabling other devices to access some resources, block or authorize devices on the network.
All of these functions make your IP address of great importance especially when issues arise in areas such as security, access to resources, and privacy on the internet. You surely do not want to be kept in the web of ignorance. This post will further highlight why your IP address is of great importance on the internet and how you can protect it.
So what’s the big deal about your IP Address? Learn more below.
About Your IP Address: Identity
You can call it a virtual version of yourself. Maybe in the alternative, call it an identity card but for your virtual personality. Your IP address represents your internet identity. With the location feature, your IP address can be used to tell your exact location and from which place you are accessing the internet. Other personal details and information that are best kept private may also be sourced through the IP address. You surely do not need to put yourself in this mess, hence the need to hide your IP address becomes crucial.
About Your IP Address: Security
Apart from privacy concerns, your internet security could also be weakened through your IP address. Just like you can be attacked in real life, you can also be attacked on the internet. You may not feel this directly on your human flesh but may cost you some personal information. This could happen when an unknown person gets hold of your IP address. Your IP address could be gotten in several ways.
For instance, whenever you connect to a public Wi-Fi, other devices connected to the same network can also access your IP address. As such, your internet traffic can easily be intercepted by any of those devices. Also, whenever you download content from a torrent site, members of the swarm automatically get access to your IP address and may use it to sabotage your internet security.
While it is easy to assume that not everyone would want to be involved in this act, cybercriminals are often up to the task in their quest to weaken your internet security. With techniques such as MITM attacks, spoofing, and sniffing, it is easy for these criminals to easily hijack your internet traffic, analyze and use the result to their own advantage, and to steal your personal data. As an example, your internet packets may easily be analyzed to get through to your personal details like email, passwords, usernames, and sites which you have accessed. You do know what that means and the possible implications.
It is also important to state that personal details gotten through this means may be used to carry out further cyberattacks on other devices and it would appear as if the attacks were initiated by you. This can be avoided by using a reliable VPN or a proxy to hide your IP address or simply not connecting to untrusted public Wi-Fi.
Restrictions, Streaming, and access to content
If you do not know, some contents on the internet are location-specific. In other words, you cannot access these contents unless you are based in a particular location. This is applicable in some popular streaming platforms like Hulu, Netflix, I-player, etc. In most instances, network administrators and content providers often utilize certain restrictions to prevent people from a particular location to have access to some content online.
While network administrators usually go about this by using techniques such as packet filtering, deep inspection or blacklisting of websites, content providers will often use your geo-location services which are made accessible by your device’s IP address.
About your IP Address: ISP throttling
Oftentimes, internet service providers may use the access they have to your IP address to perpetuate a particular form of internet injustice referred to as Bandwidth or ISP throttling. Bandwidth throttling simply refers to an intentional act of increasing or reducing the speed of an internet service by an internet service provider. So you can suddenly discover that your internet speed becomes slower and this may come into play while carrying out certain tasks online such as streaming or downloading files online. Perhaps you had even thought that the issue was probably with your internet connection but in reality that is not the issue.
Your ISP has simply been regulating your internet speed with your IP address. They do it for different reasons which may be to coerce you into purchasing a more expensive subscription package. It could also be to force you to use a particular service being provided by the ISP. For instance, if your ISP has its own streaming platform and you decide to stream from a different platform, your internet speed may be throttled by your ISP as a way of frustrating and discouraging you from using such platforms.