IP addresses are a unique string of numbers assigned to every device that connects to the internet. This includes your PC, mobile devices, and even routers.
A common misconception about IP addresses is that they are equivalent to your home address, but that’s not entirely true. Unlike a home address, an IP address 192.168.l00.1 is a temporary number that changes with every network connection or device you switch to.
An IP address is a 128-bit number that identifies your computer or device on a network. The International Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) assigns IP addresses in a hierarchical fashion.
The IANA distributes blocks of IP addresses to the five regional internet registries around the world, which in turn assign smaller chunks of those blocks to internet service providers (ISPs).
Each IP address is then associated with a specific network that connects to the internet. The IP address is often referred to as the “Internet Protocol address” or simply the “IP address.”
There are two types of IP addresses. Static and Dynamic
The most common type of IP address is static, which lasts for a set amount of time, such as 14 days. This is usually given to you by your internet provider.
While static IP addresses are easy to manage, they can also be a major security risk for businesses and consumers alike. They are vulnerable to phishing and social engineering attacks.
Another concern is that a cybercriminal can use a stolen IP address to access personally identifiable information (PII), such as social security numbers, email addresses, or mailing addresses. This can lead to identity theft and other nefarious activities.
In addition, hackers can use a stolen IP address to download illegal content, such as pirated movies or music, or to sell nefarious items online. This could breach your ISP’s terms of service or result in a criminal conviction.
Lastly, IP addresses can help attackers narrow down someone’s location, which is important for carrying out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. These attacks bring down a website by sending massive amounts of fake traffic.
A public IP address is not only visible to everyone online, it reveals the user’s geolocation, including their city, state, and zip code. This can be useful for identifying a home address, but it can also reveal a person’s personal details and habits, such as the websites they visit and the content they browse.
It’s also an important piece of information for advertisers and media companies, who can use your public IP address to display customized ads based on your location. Moreover, if a hacker has access to your public IP address, they can track down your physical location and possibly break into your home.
If you want to find your public IP address, open your browser and click on the “about” button at the top of the page. A pop-up will show up containing your IP address, which is also displayed in the address bar.
It’s worth noting that most public IP addresses are only used for a short period of time, so it’s important to remember to change your IP address whenever you move. This is especially important if you travel or are using your home Wi-Fi network when away from home.