Although we spend a lot of time on the Internet, many people don’t really know its inner workings. For example, many people don’t even know what an IP address is, or how it can be used against you. An IP address is defined as a unique address that identifies a device on the Internet.
An IP address primarily has two roles: network interface identification and location addressing. Unfortunately, some people can get ahold of your IP address, creating some potential problems. So how can people use your IP address against you?
Let’s take a look.
- Expose Personal Information
One of the biggest ways someone can harm you with your IP address is by exposing personal information. Even if you’re thinking “What is my IP address?”, cyberattackers can still find it out and use it to find other information about you.
While it is unlikely that these cyber attacks will lead to items such as your address or phone number being leaked, there still can be some ramifications. These attackers will be able to discern what general area you live in and even who your Internet service provider is.
From here, dedicated cybercriminals could use that information and take it a step further, potentially putting your safety at risk.
- DDoS Attacks
If you’ve ever experienced online gaming, then you’ve likely heard of the term DDoS before.
When this happens, the cybercriminal floods your network with unwanted traffic with your IP address, slowing your internet speeds to a crawl. While this is usually done out of spite or to prank someone, it can have serious ramifications.
If you work from home or are in a professional setting, having your Internet speeds slowed can be a huge problem and can greatly impair productivity.
- Restricted Device Access
When a cybercriminal has a hold of your IP address, they can use it to restrict your device from accessing certain services.
With your IP address, a cybercriminal may be able to block you from reaching certain websites or accessing platforms required for online gaming services. This is sometimes referred to as an IP ban, and can completely restrict what your devices can do.
While this may not be a grave and imminent threat to your personal security, it can still be extremely annoying and can greatly hinder the capabilities of your devices.
- Sell It
Contrary to popular belief, cybercriminals likely won’t sell or buy just your IP address, as it isn’t really worth the effort.
However, if a cybercriminal gets ahold of your IP address, they may add it to a stored database of other IP addresses and then sell the entire database to another cybercriminal.
What the purchaser of the database will do with the IP addresses they buy is completely up in the air and varies from case to case, but it’s unsettling to think that your IP address can be sold and bought for later use.