Every time you access the internet on your computer, be it for playing a game online or checking your social media profiles, your computer uses your IP address to communicate with the servers. The IP address allows the web to locate your device amongst the billions of others connected to the internet and deliver the content that you requested. If not protected, this numeric address can be exploited by cybercriminals in various ways.
Most people presume that hiding the IP address applies only to those who access sensitive data online. However, hackers can take advantage of any Internet Protocol address for their gains. This may include anything from malware attacks to malicious activities. That is why it is very important to secure your IP address when you access content online and keep yourself protected from prying eyes. Below are some ways in which cybercriminals can utilize your IP address.
Downloading Illegal Content under your IdentityIPv4 addresses can be termed as your online identity. When a hacker gains access to your IP address, he/she can use it for accessing and downloading illegal content, such as pirated movies and music, or even child pornography, which can get you in serious trouble with your ISP. In worst cases, the cybercriminal may use your identity to access the dark web or content that threatens national security.
Find your Location for Targeted AttacksA hacker can trace an IP address with geolocation technology and easily find the region, city, and state you are in. This data can then be used for determining if your area is worthy of a large-scale attack. For instance, if you are in a wealthier locality or an underserved area, cybercriminals can find potential ways to attack the systems in your neighborhood for higher payouts and easy penetration.
Injecting Malware into your NetworkCybercriminals can also use your IP address to directly target your network and inject malware into your system. Another common example of that is a DDoS attack, wherein hackers use an infected machine to generate a high volume of requests over your network and disrupt the server services. This blocks you from accessing essential resources, which can be alarming for businesses.
It is seen that online gamers are also at a higher risk of DDoS attacks because hackers can access their IP address easily when they share their screen during a live stream. Therefore, you should use the right means to hide your IPv4 addresses and protect yourself against such cyberattacks.