Hackers can create a lot of havoc with your online identity. Cybercriminals and hackers usually employ various tactics to engage in illegal activities, such as hack or compromise IP addresses. You may become vulnerable to a variety of serious threats ranging from minor annoyance to malicious hijacking if you IP address is hacked.
Surprisingly, IP address hacking does not generally lead to access to your personal information, but it can be used for other nefarious purposes.
What is IP Hacking?
IP address hacking means that an unauthorized entity has gained access to a system, network, or device associated with that compromised IP address. The attacker may indeed have the ability to read, intercept, and modify transmitted data packets. Here’s how this could happen:
Packet Sniffing: Once an attacker gains access to a network or device, they can use packet sniffing tools to capture and analyze data packets as they traverse the network. This allows them to inspect the content of the packets, including sensitive information such as login credentials or personal data.
Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks: An attacker with control over a compromised IP address might position themselves between the communication path of two parties, intercepting and potentially modifying the data being exchanged. This could involve altering requests or injecting malicious content into the communication stream.
Packet Injection: The attacker might inject their own packets into the data stream. This could involve sending fraudulent requests or modifying legitimate ones to manipulate the communication between two parties.
Hackers have been known to use stolen IP addresses to download illegal content like pirated material, child pornography, or content that threatens national security. Hacked IP addresses can also be used for DDoS attacks (“distributed denial-of-service”), which basically shut down your access to the Internet. This tactic has been used frequently against gamers.
5 Steps to protect yourself from IP address hacking
1. Change Your Privacy Settings
While it’s not possible for individuals to directly change privacy settings for their IP address, there are several steps you can take to enhance your online privacy and security.
Setting your social media and online accounts to “private” will make it more challenging for casual or opportunistic hackers to access certain information about you, including your IP address.
Don’t accept calls or IMs from people you don’t know. Emails, instant messaging, and other online services may reveal your IP address or other information too. Ensure you use secure connections (HTTPS) when available.
2. Use a Virtual Private Network
Protect yourself from IP address hacking by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
A VPN encrypts your internet connection, making it more difficult for attackers to intercept your data. It will route your online activity through a proxy server and hides your real IP address by assigning you a virtual one, enhancing your online privacy.
The use of VPN is particularly important if you are accessing your internet using public WiFi services, as the VPN not only protects you from being hacked but also prevents eavesdropping of your data being transmitted over the network.
Considered the most effective way to protect against getting your IP address hacked, most VPN services charge a fee. The free services available online may not be sufficient if you use your computer for games or streaming content.
The IP2Proxy proxy detection database can tell you if someone is using a VPN.
3. Change to a dynamic IP address
There is some debate over whether a static IP address makes one more open to hacking.
A static IP address is often used by gamers, people who host their own websites, or individuals who sign on from remote locations whereas a dynamic IP address, on the other hand, changes regularly.
Although not everyone agrees, using a dynamic IP address may provide more protection than a static one because it does not present a constant target for hackers.
4. Update your firewall and router
Change your password on your router regularly. Don’t use the default password, which can easily be found by hackers online. It’s recommended to use a strong password consists of the combination of upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers and special characters with a minimum length of 8 characters.
Adjust your firewall settings so they do not allow “pings” and other contacts from unauthorized users.
5. Update your antivirus software
To prevent getting your IP address hacked and other forms of malicious activity, you need to update your antivirus/antimalware software on a regular basis.
Experts say that if you use your computer for work and receive large quantities of emails, you should perform this task every day.
New viruses multiply so quickly that if you do not update your software, it is almost worse than not having any antivirus software at all.
Better safe than sorry
Remember, knowing IP addresses is not always a sinister thing. Legitimate businesses use IP geolocation apps/services to target customer preferences, detect fraud, and manage web traffic.
But there are enough hackers out there to warrant taking basic precautions.
Even though your IP address may not lead a hacker to your personal data, the damage that can be wrought is extensive.
Be smart: take the time to implement these few simple tactics in order to ward off possible IP address hacking.
THE POWER OF IP GEOLOCATION
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