Websites can easily pinpoint your location on a map through an address you are broadcasting, even as you read this article. This is done through IP address location techniques, and should be considered a security threat. Knowing what IP addresses are and how they function will make you more aware of your options.
To start off, checking your IP address can be done via several means. First you can make use of websites that ping your computer. Another option is to use your command line prompt in Windows to get details on the network you are on. Most find it easier to simply use a program or go online to check the IP address, as it takes literally seconds to do.
The type of IP address you have determines how quickly it will change by itself. A static IP address is one that never changes, unless a specific request is made to your Internet service provider. In that case, your request may not even be approved, even if the nature of your request is not shady. Dynamic addresses instead change each time you disconnect from the network.
You can easily mask the number that you broadcast by using a proxy. A proxy can be installed on your desktop or can be used through a web browser. Either way, the address your broadcast is either the IP address of a designated web server or a public IP address that is used among multiple people. Proxies can make some websites inaccessible, so it’s best to use them with moderation.
Through networking address translation, or NAT, everyone on your network can have the same theoretical IP address. In fact, this is common practice in order to conserve on the amount of IP addresses that can be distributed among the world of devices. NAT also helps secure your real credentials, as it acts as a buffer between you and the outside world. NAT is typically enabled on networks these days, so you don’t have to worry about enabling it for most cases.
Security programs can easily mask the IP addresses that we use today. The problem is that IP addresses aren’t the only type of addresses your computer uses. A MAC address is similar, but it is structured different and will not be able to be masked as easily. The address is on the hardware specifically, so it would be a hard task to change it. MAC addresses are not commonly shared, and can be safeguarded through certain programs.
Computers contact with IP addresses, so knowing a thing or two about how they operate isn’t such a bad idea. IP addresses can be dangerous to give out at times, but the right software can secure your computer well enough so that you won’t have to worry each time you use the Internet.