Whether you’re at work or you’re an individual using a home computer, you may want to consider hiding your IP address. IP address vulnerabilities are a potential problem for several reasons.
In this article, we’ll explain what an IP address is and why it’s so critical that you protect it.
What Exactly is an IP Address?
Before we get into IP security solutions, you should first understand precisely what this term means. An IP address:
- Is a numerical label
- Is an identifying tag for a computer network-connected device
If your device, like a laptop, desktop, or tablet, communicates uses Internet Protocol, it needs an IP address. This address shows your physical location, and it also works for host or network interface identification purposes.
The Internet Protocol is a common rule or behavior set. When a device like a computer uses it, other systems can recognize it. Once that happens, they can communicate with each other.
When your computer or other device has an IP address, it can achieve full functionality. It can use your router, connect using your Wi-Fi, and then you can log onto different websites.
Why Would You Keep Your IP Address Private?
There are several specific reasons why you’d want to keep your IP address private, but the most general one is that if you have a visible IP address, entities can track what you do online. In other words:
- Ad networks can see your search history
- Websites can cut you off from content viewing because of geographical restrictions
Your IP address is your device’s identification number. It shows websites your internet traffic history.
You probably use search engines like Google every day, but you might not stop to think that these engines can then keep your search records. Many people feel it’s a privacy invasion that companies track your interests this way.
Now, let’s go over some more specific reasons you might want to mask your IP address.
You Can Get Around Geographical Barriers
Let’s say you’ve got a Netflix subscription, and you’re trying to access it on your laptop when you’re out of the country. You find that you can’t do that because the service is country-specific.
You can avoid that by masking your laptop’s IP address. That way, you can use the service even if you’re visiting Spain, Ireland, etc. You can get yourself a VPN (virtual private network) that can hide your IP address.
With a VPN in place, another country’s server routes your device’s data. Websites you visit and services you access can no longer track your location.
The Government Cannot Surveil You
If you protect your IP address, the government cannot surveil you. Doubtless, you’re not a terrorist or doing anything shady online, but that doesn’t mean you want the government spying on you. It’s a freedom violation.
Some countries, like China, spy on their citizens this way. Most people don’t like the idea that the government is looking over their shoulder while they do their online browsing.
By getting a VPN, you can prevent this from taking place. If you want some privacy, you need IP address protection.
Keep Your Research Private
Maybe you’re using your laptop at home, or perhaps you’re using a work computer. In either case, let’s say you have a vital work project.
Maybe there are spies in your profession. You’re working on a sensitive or valuable project, and you don’t want anyone to steal your proprietary secrets.
With a VPN, you can keep anyone from seeing your work. Also, if you’re a journalist, you’re in law enforcement, or you’re a political candidate, you might need to do sensitive research. You probably don’t want anyone to be able to track that, either.
Hide from ISP Service Providers
When you’re online, you’re also using an ISP, or internet service provider. No law explicitly states that an ISP cannot sell your data without your explicit consent. They can take your browsing history and give it to marketing analysts or advertisers.
If they do this, they’re profiting off you without your consent. That’s another privacy violation you probably want to avoid. Hiding your IP address keeps them from executing this questionable data tracking.
As a rule, you don’t want people seeing what you do online, even if everything you do is aboveboard. Purchasing a VPN and using it is a simple matter. It’s how you keep your online activities to yourself rather than broadcasting them so many different entities can see them.