We often do not always pay attention to our IP Address but there is more to it than just having a string of numbers separated by a full stop.
This is why it is very important to go into detail on what an IP address is all about before we provide an answer to the question — If Someone has my IP Address what can they do?
An IP address is a unique set of characters or numbers that identifies a device on a local network or the Internet. Your IP address is not (usually) constant, this could change if you turn off the connection or change your location. It can also change if you use any VPN service since their major function is to provide safety through anonymity which is executed by masking your current Internet Protocol Address (IP address).
If you are just a regular user, you might not be too concerned about your Internet Protocol address. You are only interested in the end result until you come across a post that emphasizes more on the dangers you can encounter.
This is why we will be thorough on this topic, so you can understand how you can protect yourself so no one gains control of your data or privacy.
How can someone find my IP address?
Your IP address is important. The unique strings of characters are normally assigned by your internet service provider. Most ISPs adopt dynamic IP addresses, so you can expect your addresses to change. This is even good for you as it makes it almost impossible for hackers to know what IP address will be assigned to your device when next you connect. This ensures that you have some level of security.
Some ISPs also use Static IP Addresses. For this type, the address remains the same. To confirm if your IP address is dynamic or static, you only need to reboot your system and then check. If it changes, then it is dynamic. If otherwise, then it is a Static IP address.
For anyone to hurt you, all they need is your IP Address as it contains some very important information about you. Therefore, we will be providing some of the ways that people can use to know your IP address:
1. By tapping into your Wireless Network
Anyone can easily spy on your home network if it is not secured enough. Also, if you let strangers make use of your network, they can know your IP address since they will be using the password you provided. To avoid this, you should avoid giving anyone a password to your wireless network.
2. By lending out your device
One of the most common ways for anyone to spy on your IP Address is by letting anyone use or borrow your computer or smartphone. Anyone with your device just needs to locate the location of the address, and write out your IP Address. For smartphones with newer OS, this can be found by going to Settings > Sim cards & mobile network > Advanced settings.
On Windows PC, Settings > Network & internet > Wi-Fi > select the Wi-Fi network you’re connected to > Under Properties, you will see your device IP address.
There are also lots of websites out there that can also cull out the characters in just a few seconds.
3. Taken from an email
This is usually one of the ways that people can view your IP address, but nowadays, ISPs no longer include such. However, small Internet service providers and people with their own email servers may be culpable.
People can obtain an IP address from an email header using the email you send to them, but not your IP address. For instance, when you send an email using your Google email account, the receiver could see one of the addresses belonging to Google, definitely not yours.
4. Router hacking
Another way is when someone is able to untangle some information about you which then provides a way to know your access password on your Router. With this development, they can see your IP Address. One of the most common ways is using your birthday as your password, personal name, and certain information about you that can be easily guessed.
5. Connecting to a Hotspot or Wifi set up to deceive you
Everyone loves free internet and it comes in handy when you are in dire need of the internet to respond to an urgent mail or get something in motion online.
Avoid connecting to a public hotspot as Hackers may intentionally set up a fake one so they can view your data and personal information. With these details, they can do more than enough damage to you. It is even possible for them to infect your device with malware thereby leading to several security issues on your system.
6. Taking part in online forums
Agreed that Online forums can be very interactive. It opens up ideas from everyone which can help you make a good judgment of a situation. Still, engaging in online forums could expose your IP Address. Admins will be able to view your Location which makes it easy for them to track you.
7. Culled from Blog Comments
It is common for Bloggers to open up a chance for their audience to reach out to them. Unfortunately, your IP Address may also be in danger of being revealed using a few keystrokes. Although, established ISPs assign dynamic IP addresses which may make it difficult for them as your IP address is often changing.
8. Via social media platforms.
Social media platforms house a lot of information about you. There is a lot of sensitive information about you that can be easily gathered on the internet, so it is no wonder why people who need to get to you can make use of your account. For instance, when you click a link sent to your Whatsapp, your IP address can easily be exposed using iplogger.org which is often used to set up trackable links.
9. By clicking an ad campaign
It is also possible for your IP address to be looked up when you click on an ad. Advertisers normally use this medium to target consumers. There are also some ad campaigns that are created to put your device at risk, such ads are mostly intrusive.
10. From a website server
One other way to check your IP address is from the web server. Your IP address is stored when you use a website which opens up a chance for anyone with access to view your IP address.
What Can Someone Do With Your IP Address?
Every device connected to a local network or over the internet is assigned an IP address. If you are on a local network, it allows the devices to connect making it possible to transfer files.
The IP address is basically your Identification when you are on the internet. You need it to do most of the things you love doing online. Therefore, while it may just number to most people, the truth is it is very valuable. Someone with your device’s IP address could do a lot with it. An example of an IP address is 6126.96.36.199.
Below are some of the things that could happen if someone gets a hold of your IP Address:
To know some information about you
There is a whole lot of your information that can be accessed using your IP Address. Such information normally includes your full name, phone number, house address, birthday, and SSN.
Identity thieves can use them to impersonate you which could ruin your reputation. Your IP address becoming knowledge to another can also be used to steal from you or for other malicious activities. For instance, being used to download an illegal file on the dark web may likely put you out there as the face of crime.
Know your Geographical location
Someone who intends to know your current location could find a way to get your IP address. Although they may not be able to come up with the exact place, they can come close to getting the country you are in and the particular area.
Regardless, with some investigation, they can still get the exact location provided you are someone that does leave a lot of clues around, maybe on social networks.
For DOS Attacks
Anyone with your IP address can carry out a DoS (denial of service) against you. This can occur by sending you a large number of requests or traffic to you which is more than your device can take. This will eventually shut down your network and resort to denial of service.
This attack is usually sent to big websites by hackers. They hold them to ransom until they pay big dough.
To hack your system
To connect you to the Internet world, ports and IP addresses are used. A port is a jack or a part of a device made available for the connection of peripheral devices.
If a hacker is able to get your IP Address, they can use one of the ports used by every IP address to take control of your device. One of the ways they work is to use a port to view the apps running on a device and then send spammed links to the unsecured apps you use.
If they can get in, they could commit data theft, infect your device with malware and carry out all sorts of despicable acts.
To monitor your online activities
In workplaces, employers want to maximize the efforts of their workers. Hence, they can use your device’s IP address to track your online activities. Most workers spend too much time on the internet and this can result in not getting much done. With the information, they can use it to flush out the uncommitted workers.
In this scenario, the address is not used for illegal activities but to boost productivity. Although this is still an invasion of your privacy to an extent.
For sale on the dark web
Some hackers or thieves collect IP addresses for sale on the dark web. Some will rather let another do the main job rather than sully their names further.
They usually make use of an anonymous account when transacting, and they get paid using cryptocurrency. This ensures that they are protected if things go sideways with the buyers.
To frame you for a crime
If a hacker needs someone to take a fall for a crime committed, your IP address can be used to make it happen. It can be used to transact a deal that does not go well in the eyes of the law, buy things online illegally, use your IP address to carry out atrocities, pay for illegal drugs, etc.
To restrict access to certain websites or services.
Have you tried visiting a website and you get a message, “Content is not available in your region?”. This usually happens when your location is denied access to the website. Many online services make use of your IP Address to restrict access to their content.
To avoid this, your best move is to use a good VPN and select one of the supported destinations for access.