What can someone do with your IP Address?

Updated on August 24, 2023
What can someone do with your IP Address?

Have you ever wondered, what can someone do with your IP address? It is possible to find out a person’s identity from your IP address if you share it with them online. If you share your IP with someone else, they can use it to spy on you or make money off of you. So, you have to be extra cautious about how you share your IP with others. But first of all, what’s exactly an IP address? Let’s find out!

What is an IP Address?

An IP address is a number that uniquely identifies a device on the internet. This unique identifier allows a device to communicate with another device on the internet and is an essential part of the internet’s functioning. Currently, billions of devices are connected to the internet. A computer that is connected to the internet needs an IP address to be able to see a website that a user requests. An IP address is assigned to a computer via a protocol called DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol).

Types of IP Addresses

There are two types of IP addresses:

  1. Private IP address
  2. Public IP address

Then there are two different structures of IP addresses, namely:

  1. IPV4
  2. IPV6

It is vital to understand the difference between the two things, how they both work, and their importance. 

Private IP Addresses

Within the boundaries of a local network, private IP addresses take on the role of communication facilitators. These addresses are assigned to devices within the network, such as those found in a home or office setting. While they aren’t globally unique like public IP addresses, private IP addresses allow devices to converse with each other exclusively within the confines of the local network. These addresses are inaccessible from the broader internet and play a vital part in internal network communication.

Public IP Addresses

A public IP address is a distinctive identifier assigned by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to a device connected to the Internet. As a virtual passport to the global network, public IP addresses allow devices to communicate with other devices across the vast expanse of the internet. 

The uniqueness of each public IP address ensures that no two devices share the same identifier simultaneously, facilitating precise data routing. These addresses are accessible from any corner of the world, making them indispensable for hosting websites, running online services, and permitting remote access to devices.

Another thing to understand is that there are two different types of Public IP addresses i.e Dynamic IP and Static IP Address:

Dynamic IP Addresses

Dynamic IP addresses are a pragmatic solution to the finite pool of available IP addresses. Internet Service Providers temporarily allocate dynamic IP addresses to devices, optimizing their address resources’ utilization. Each time a device connects to the network, it might be assigned a different dynamic IP address from the provider’s available pool. 

This approach is common in home internet connections, where frequent changes in IP addresses help the ISP cater to more customers while conserving address availability.

Static IP Addresses

In scenarios demanding steadfast accessibility and consistent communication, static IP addresses come to the fore. Unlike dynamic addresses that change periodically, static IP addresses are manually assigned and remain fixed for a specific device. 

This unwavering nature makes them suitable for services necessitating unchanging contact points, such as servers and network devices. Their stability ensures reliable remote access and smoother interactions with other devices and networks. 

Static IP addresses can be configured on the device or within the network’s settings to create a reliable reference point for seamless communication.

How can someone get your IP Address?

An IP address is a number associated with your computer’s Internet connection. It allows websites and other users to identify you. These addresses are useful for tracking online activities and can help you find anonymous online assailants. They can also help you find websites that sell pirated downloads or nefarious goods. If you want to avoid being tracked, try using a VPN service or incognito mode on your browser.

What can someone do with your IP Address?

Here are some ways how can someone get your IP address:

Through a Court Order

Law enforcement agencies or other authorized parties can obtain your IP address through a court order in some legal cases. This is typically done as part of an investigation into criminal activities or to trace the source of malicious behavior online. A court order requires legal justification and oversight to prevent abuse of this process.

Direct Communication

Whenever you engage in any online activity, your device’s IP address is disclosed to the servers you interact with. For instance, when you send a request to a website, your IP address is included in that request. This is a fundamental aspect of Internet communication and is essential for transmitting data back to your device.

Emails

When you send an email, your IP address can be revealed in the email’s header. This information is often used for routing purposes and can also be used to trace the origin of the email. While modern email services might mask this information to protect users’ privacy, determined individuals could find ways to extract it.

Website Interaction

Websites you visit can log your IP address in their server logs. This is a common practice for analyzing user traffic, debugging technical issues, and identifying potential security threats. Website administrators can use this information to monitor user behavior but are also expected to follow privacy regulations and guidelines.

Social Engineering

Cyber attackers might employ social engineering techniques to voluntarily trick you into revealing your IP address. They could pose as legitimate entities, such as customer support representatives, and request your IP address under pretenses. This method relies on manipulating human psychology to extract sensitive information.

Malicious Links

If you click on a malicious link sent by an attacker, they could potentially exploit vulnerabilities in your browser or device to reveal your IP address. These links might lead to websites with malicious scripts designed to gather information about your device and its network connections.

Network Snooping

Attackers might intercept network traffic to capture your IP address in certain scenarios. This is more likely when you’re using unsecured or public Wi-Fi networks. Cybercriminals can employ various techniques to capture and analyze network packets, potentially exposing sensitive information like your IP address.

DNS Requests

When you enter a website’s domain name into your browser, your device sends a DNS (Domain Name System) request to a DNS server. This request contains your IP address, allowing the DNS server to respond with the corresponding website’s IP address. Attackers accessing the DNS server’s logs could retrieve this information.

Is tracing an IP address illegal?

Tracing an IP address is legal, but only in limited cases. The IP address of an individual is considered personal information, whereas an IP address belonging to a business is considered public information. 

However, the legality of tracing an IP address depends on the context and the intent behind it. Here are some scenarios to consider:

  • Legal Use: Tracing an IP address with proper authorization, such as investigating cybercrimes or unauthorized access to computer systems, is generally legal. Law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity professionals often employ IP tracing as part of their legitimate duties to prevent or respond to illegal activities.
  • Unauthorized Access: Attempting to trace someone’s IP address without their permission or outside the scope of your lawful authority can potentially be illegal. This is often regarded as an invasion of privacy or unauthorized surveillance.
  • Stalking or Harassment: If IP tracing is used for malicious purposes, such as stalking, harassment, or intimidation, it is likely to be considered illegal and a violation of privacy laws.
  • Terms of Service Violations: Some online platforms and websites include terms of service that explicitly prohibit specific actions, including attempting to trace or track other users’ IP addresses without permission. Violating these terms could lead to legal consequences.
  • Civil Suits: In some cases, individuals or organizations might initiate civil legal action if they believe their privacy or rights have been violated through unauthorized IP tracing.
what can someone do with your IP Address

How to see your Own IP Address?

To access the web, you must have an IP address to sign in. These addresses are publicly visible on the internet, and advertisers and media companies can use them to target advertisements and restrict content. They can also be used to track your online activity. Typically, the first two segments of an IP address reveal a user’s location, including city and state. The second two segments, however, contain no specific information.

On Windows systems, you can look up your local IP address through the command prompt. You can access this tool by clicking on the Start Menu and typing “cmd”. Once the command prompt opens, type “ipconfig” into the prompt. You will be able to view your IP address as an IPv4 address. Alternatively, you can install a large utility called BgInfo or Rainmeter, which can also display your IP address. However, these applications are not necessary for most users.

Astrill VPN provides the best tool for finding your own IP address. Visit Astrill website to view your own IP address. It provides you the best secure browsing experience.

Does a VPN hide your IP Address?

Using a VPN is a good idea if you care about your privacy; it stops websites from collecting information about you. This means online advertisers can’t easily target you, and your info isn’t as readily shared with marketers by your internet provider (ISP). Also, a VPN helps keep your online activity more private from government agencies.

A VPN can also help you get around restrictions on content only available in certain countries. Many popular websites limit who can access their content based on where they are. With a VPN, your IP address is hidden, so it can look like you’re browsing from a different country and access that content.

What can others do with your IP address?

There are a lot of things that can go wrong if someone has your IP address, like: 

1. Unauthorized Access and Attacks

Malicious actors, including hackers, can exploit your IP address to engage in illegal activities. They might attempt to compromise your device, gain unauthorized access to your accounts, or infiltrate your network. 

This can lead to data breaches, unauthorized usage of your accounts, and potential financial loss. Additionally, attackers can employ your IP address to launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, overwhelming websites or networks and causing disruption.

2. Online Restrictions

By identifying your IP address, malicious entities can block your access to certain online activities. This might include restricting your participation in comment sections, access to online forums, or even online gaming platforms. This targeted restriction can hinder your online experiences and limit your ability to engage with specific content or communities.

3. Tracking and Privacy Invasion

Hackers can track your internet activities using your IP address, potentially violating your online privacy. They can monitor the websites you visit, the content you interact with, and your online behavior. 

This information can be used to construct a detailed profile of your online presence, which may eventually lead to identity theft, targeted phishing attacks, or the sale of your data on the dark web.

4. Location Disclosure

Your IP address can reveal your approximate geographical location. Businesses often use this information for legitimate purposes, such as delivering localized content or providing services relevant to your region. However, in the hands of malicious actors, this data could compromise your anonymity and lead to unwanted tracking or stalking.

5. Targeted Advertisements

Ad networks and websites can use your IP address to tailor advertisements to your location and preferences. This means that advertisers can deliver more relevant content to you, but it also highlights the potential for your online activities to be tracked and monitored for commercial purposes.

6. Physical Threats

Posting private information online with your IP address can expose you to physical threats. Criminals could use this information to determine your physical address and visit your home. This underscores the importance of safeguarding your personal information and online activities.

7. Government Surveillance

Under certain circumstances, governments can use IP addresses for surveillance and law enforcement purposes. While this is often done to investigate criminal activities and ensure national security, it also raises concerns about privacy, civil liberties, and the potential for abuse of power.

How to secure your IP address?

If you want to be completely anonymous on the internet, you should know how to stop others from using your IP address. Whether you are browsing the Internet or using an unsecured Wi-Fi network, your IP address is used to send and receive information. This information is often recorded and used to target ads based on your interests. However, this information can be used by hackers for malicious purposes, such as hacking your home network or placing bugs in email HTML. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this from happening.

  • The first step to prevent hackers from tracing your IP address is to make sure that your operating system is up to date. Change the privacy settings of your system to “Private”.
  • One of these measures is to change your password frequently. If you use a router to forward data between networks, you should use a strong password with a mix of upper and lower characters or strings. This will protect your IP address and prevent hackers from gaining access to your computer. 
  • Another important step is to change your router’s administrative password. It is important to change this password because attackers are known to use default passwords that are available online. You should also ensure that your router’s firewall is set up to block ping requests from the internet.
  • Use a VPN to ensure your IP address security. You can route your online data through a VPN server having its own IP address. Your device and logging information are veiled. AstrillVPN provides the best features with better pricing plans. You can opt for a business and personal VPN plan based on your own choice.

How to Hide Your IP Address With AstrillVPN?

  1. Subscribe to AstrillVPN through the official website.
AstrillVPN Pricing Plan
  1. Download and Install the AstrillVPN app for your device.
AstrillVPN Windows setup
  1. Open the app and Log in using your username and password.
AstrillVPN app
  1. Select a server of your choice from the servers dropdown list.
AstrillVPN app
  1. Toggle the power button to turn on the connection.
AstrillVPN app
  1. Now check your IP through Astrill’s What is my IP tool.
What is my IP

You’ll notice that your IP will appear differently now, which means that no one will be able to track your actual location. 

The Bottom line

While IP addresses are not usually used to harm you, they can be used by malicious people to track you and gather information. There are many legitimate organizations that collect IP address information, and many of them do so legally. Nevertheless, there are many illegal individuals who try to use this information to harm you.

Your IP address is connected to your internet service provider. This makes it easy for hackers and other threat actors to track you down and obtain personal information. They can also use this information to target you with phishing or social engineering attacks so it’s better to protect your IP address privacy.

About The Author

Bisma Farrukh

Bisma is a seasoned writer passionate about topics like cybersecurity, privacy and data breach issues. She has been working in VPN industry for more than 5 years now and loves to talk about security issues. She loves to explore the books and travel guides in her leisure time.

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