Install a firewall, use a solid antivirus program, hide IP address – these are the general instructions that you can see across cybersecurity magazines and blog posts. The thing that remains unanswered is how to do it properly and what the purpose of doing it is.
Today we are going to put the concept of IP address under our scope. You’ll be able to learn what it is, how to hide IP addresses, and the benefits it brings to the table online security-wise.
The role of IP address and how it works
Did you know that every device connected to the Internet has a unique IP address? The IP address is a series of numbers divided by dots. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is in charge of assigning you an IP address. It serves as a unique ID card every device uses to successfully communicate with other devices online.
Today we have two types of IP addresses IPv4 and IPv6. The IP address tells a lot about the device it is assigned to. First, it tells which ISP you are using and the IP’s hostname. It also tells which services are running on the IP address. More importantly, the IP address tells the country, region, city, longitude, and latitude, and area code of where the device is.
Basically, it describes in great detail the physical location of a device. In other words, your exact location. You cancheck it out yourself.
Why many businesses and individuals mask their IP address
Many businesses opt to hide their web server’s IP address primarily for security reasons. Cybercriminals tend to target businesses to gain access to their servers. Once they do, they can steal confidential business data, customer information or deploy ransomware. Businesses hide their IP address to add an additional layer of security and prevent these types of attacks.
Other businesses offerweb scraping services. However, the targeted servers are often protected, and scraping them results in an IP ban or restriction. Thanks to a proxy, businesses can hide their IP and run a safe web scraping operation.
When it comes to individuals, they hide IP addresses for several reasons. Some people are aware of being online with an unmasked IP address. To improve their online privacy and achieve anonymity, they opt to hide it. Hiding an IP can also help you access geo-restricted content, which is another reason why some people decide to mask it.
Techniques to hide IP addresses
If you have a strong reason to hide your IP address, you should know that there is more than one way to do it. While all these methods are efficient, the right one for you depends on your unique goals.
VPN or Virtual Private Network is a commonly used service among individual users. VPN service enables users to connect to the internet via one of the dedicated servers. Once you establish a connection through a VPN, you get a brand new IP address, your traffic is encrypted, and your online privacy is guaranteed.
Proxies are specifically set up servers that act as your gateway to the online world. All your online communication goes through a proxy server. Since the servers send back the data packets to a proxy server, which then forward packets to you, your IP address remains hidden. If you’re interested in learning more, find this article on hiding your IP address with proxies.
TOR is an open-source browser created with user anonymity in mind. TOR helps hide your IP address by directing your web requests and responses through dozens of servers. While it masks your IP address, using dozens of servers for online communication can significantly slow down your connection.
Using Mobile Networks
Did you know that every time you turn your mobile data on, you get assigned a new IP address? That’s a handy way to mask your IP address. However, internet connection speed on mobile networks is often slow, and your communication is not encrypted.
There are other ways to hide your IP address. For instance, you can use a public WiFi network. If you do so, bear in mind that public WiFi networks are not secure, and you will be exposing yourself to a number of threats. Another way to do it is to simply contact your ISP and ask for a new IP address.
The benefits of hiding IP address
Hiding your IP address offers many benefits. Let’s name a few noteworthy ones:
Improved security and anonymity – hiding IP address translates into hiding your physical location.
Circumvent geo-blocked content – hiding IP address and accessing the web from new one-helps access geo-blocked content.
Prevent IP ban – if you run a web crawling or scraping operation, hiding your IP address will prevent the imminent IP ban.
Better privacy – your IP address is associated with your online behavior, which marketing agencies can use to spam you with ads. Hiding it means you won’t have to deal with this.
The IP address is the bread and butter of online communication. However, it can reveal so much information about you. Fortunately, now you know what the risks are of not masking it and the benefits of hiding it. More importantly, you are now familiar with several highly efficient ways to hide IP addresses.