Every device that connects to the internet has an IP (Internet Protocol) address.
They’re needed for devices talk to each other and exchange data.
Your IP address may look like
- 188.8.131.52 – for IPv4
- 2001:4860:4000:4uh5:b2fw:0000:8e5d:6432 – for IPv6
– depending on how modern your equipment is.
TIP: Want to know what you IP Address is – check out What is my IP?
But what are the dangers of someone knowing your IP address – and should you hide it?
Denial of Service attack
If someone knew you IP address – they could perform a Denial of Service attack on your router.
This will flood your connection so that your internet stops working – or at best just slows down to a crawl.
This also affects your ISP (Internet Service Provider) – so fortunately most will have systems to detect and manage Denial of Service attacks in their network.
However, these attacks require resources and run the risk of the attacker getting caught and in trouble with their ISP and the law – so fortunately they’re not often directed at home internet connections.
Discover your location
There are online databases which show the geographic location of IP addresses.
Someone with your IP address could uses these to discover your location.
In most cases, these only show your city and state – but this information could be enough to narrow down your identity – such as the school you go to.
Report your IP address as “bad” to websites and services
Some websites, like AbuseIPDB, list “bad” ip addresses – which have been used for hacking, spam and other abusive activity on the Internet.
Someone with you IP address could report it as “bad” – even without you doing anything wrong.
Do this enough times and you’ll have troubles accessing websites which block “bad” IP addresses.
Report your IP address to law enforcement
Taking things a step further – someone with your IP address could also report it as “bad” to law enforcement.
This is unlikely to be taken seriously without evidence – but it still may attract unwanted attention.
Can I be hacked using my IP address?
No – at least least it’s extremely unlikely.
For this to happen you would have to have an existing vulnerability – such as an unsecured router with a default password or open ports.
Fortunately this is extremely rare. Modern routers are designed with security in mind – for example making you set a password before it can be used. And ISP’s often use a firewall to help protect your connection.
Should I hide my IP address?
Sometimes – depending on what you’re doing.
For example, if you’re doing Internet banking you would NOT want to hide your IP address – as you want to have a “clean” connection to the bank. But if you’re browsing websites you don’t trust – YES you should consider hiding your IP address.
The best way to do this is using a VPN – such as Private Internet Access.
Private Internet Access is a highly trusted VPN service which:
- hides your IP address
- gives you access via 46 countries – further hiding your location
- is the only proven no-log VPN service in the world!
I’ve used Private Internet Access for several years and highly recommend them – they offer extreme value for money with prices from $4.42/month.