What Can Someone Do With Your IP Address in 2021?
What is an IP Address
How to See It
How to Protect
What to Do
You know your IP address is important; we certainly bring it up often enough in our security guides. But why exactly is it so important?
If someone manages to get your IP address, they can do a lot of damage to your life, from sending you spam to attacking your computer. In this guide, we’ll show you all the ways that someone could use your IP address. In addition, we’ll give you practical advice on how to protect this valuable piece of information.
What Can Someone Do With Your IP Address?
Your IP address is a number that identifies you when you’re online. You need it to send and receive data, watch Netflix, or browse Wikipedia entries. Precisely because it’s so very useful, your IP address is a valuable piece of information.
What can someone do with it if they gain access to it? The possibilities range from minor inconveniences to full-on cyberattacks, and perhaps even physical attacks as well.
Send you personalized spam: Advertisers become more sophisticated every day. Lately, many advertisers have begun embedding tracking programs in online articles. These trackers record your IP address and send you targeted ads based on your browsing. For example, you might read an article about how to raise bonsai trees. The next thing you know, you’re getting emails from local nurseries.
Learn your geographic location: An IP address indicates what city you’re in. Once someone knows that, they may also be able to poke around online and find your actual address. Many home invaders keep an eye on social media so they know when homeowners go out of town. If they have IP addresses, it’s usually pretty easy to know which houses to hit, so be sure to secure your home while you’re away.
Restrict your access to certain services: Your geolocation isn’t just important to potential thieves. Many online services get this information from your IP address and restrict your access to their services. YouTube TV, for example, allows you to see local content only from the city where you live (unless you use a Youtube TV VPN to change your YouTube TV location, of course). Netflix knows what country you’re in and provides access only to that country’s library of shows and movies, unless you change your Netflix region with a Netflix VPN. Other companies charge different rates depending on where you live.
Prevent you from playing online games: If you happen to be playing against a game administrator and they’re unhappy when you beat them, they can ban you from the match, which may effectively blacklist your IP address on the entire site.
Execute a DoS/DDoS attack: With your IP address, someone can execute a DoS (denial of service) attack against you. Essentially, such attacks prevent you from accessing network resources, including a website you visit, online accounts, and even email. The most common method for such attacks is to flood your address with server requests, overloading and disabling your system with traffic. A DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack works similarly, only it involves multiple machines so the traffic is even more intense. That’s why many people use VPNs to block DDoS attacks.
Discover personal information about you: Identity thieves are constantly on the lookout for PII (personally identifiable information). What is PII? It’s information thieves can use to steal from you directly, or information they can use to impersonate you. This can include items like your Social Security number, phone number, mailing address, and birthdate, all valuable information for identity thieves. Your IP address isn’t PII, and a thief can’t use it to get PII directly. However, if a hacker knows your IP address, they can track down your ISP. They could then use a phishing attack to try and convince the ISP to turn over whatever PII it has on you. One sure way to prevent identity theft is to buy one of the best identity theft services.
Frame you for crimes: A skilled hacker can use your IP address to impersonate you online, routing activity through your address instead of their own. Ultimately, they could frame you for buying drugs, downloading child pornography, or even creating national security threats.
Sell it on the dark web: Not all thieves are looking to cash in by impersonating you. Some are happy just to steal your IP address and sell it on the dark web. You can protect yourself from this scenario, of course, if you sign up for one of our best identity theft protection with dark web monitoring.
Track your activity: Here again, not everyone wants to use your IP address for illegal purposes. Many employers, especially with the advent of telecommuting, will try to track your activities through your IP addresses. While such practices may not be technically illegal, they’re still an invasion of your privacy.
Sue you for copyright infringement: A number of countries, including the U. S., have strict laws relating to copyrights. Many of them monitor torrenting services, looking for IP addresses associated with downloads of protected music, television shows, and films. Once a law enforcement agency has your IP address, it can go to your ISP and demand the company turn over your name and address; that is, if you didn’t torrent with a VPN using one of the best VPNs for torrenting.
FYI: IP addresses don’t reveal any personal information about you, but they do indicate your general geolocation, usually your city or ZIP code.
If a hacker knows your IP address, they can track down your ISP and try to get information about you.
What Is an IP Address?
An IP address (short for internet protocol address) is a numerical label that identifies your device and your device’s general geographic location. The internet uses IP addresses to differentiate among all the different internet websites, devices, and networks, and it couldn’t operate without IP addresses.
Your device has both an external (public) IP address and an internal (private) IP address. The external address corresponds to your home or business. Essentially, it identifies your router. Internal addresses identify specific devices, differentiating them from the others in your home. 1
If you check your device settings, you may also notice that each of your devices has two IP addresses: an IPv4 address and an IPv6 address. IPv4 was introduced in 1983 and is still the address most of the internet uses. In 1999, internet experts began to worry that all the IPv4 addresses might get used up eventually, so they introduced a more complex system with more numbers and letters.
Laptop Computer with Windows
How Can I See My Own IP Address?
At any time, of course, you can find the IP address of the device you’re using, like finding your printer’s IP address. How you do this will depend on the specific type of device you’re using.
To find your IP address on a Windows device:
Right click on the Windows icon.
Choose Network and Internet.
Select Wi-Fi or Ethernet, depending on which you use.
Click Network in the center column.
Your address will be the IPv4 numbers.
If you’re looking for your IP address on a Mac:
Pull down the Apple Menu.
Select System Preferences.
In the View menu, choose Network.
In the left column, select Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
If you’re using Ethernet, your IP address will appear in the middle of the page.
If you’re using Wi-Fi, choose Advanced.
You’ll see your address listed under IPv4.
You can find your IP addresses on an Android device by doing the following:
Navigate to your Settings menu.
You should see your IP address listed.
To find your IP address on an iPhone:
On the home screen, choose Settings.
Choose the network you’re connected to.
Your IP address should appear at the top of the screen.
How Does Someone Get Your IP Address?
The truth is, your IP address isn’t that hard to locate. Because it isn’t considered PII, most companies and services don’t take any extra precautions to conceal it. As a result, someone can get your IP address from a number of sources, including:
Your email: Some email servers list your IP address in the email heading. If you’re concerned about this, look for email servers that don’t, such as Gmail.
Torrenting files: When you torrent, your IP address is visible in the peers list. Using a VPN for torrenting can circumvent this problem, though.
Phishing attacks: Responding to phishing attacks or clicking on bogus links can make your IP address vulnerable to hackers.
Online ads: A link doesn’t have to be phony for it to collect your IP address. Even legitimate ads may record this information if you click on them. This is known as adware. Unfortunately, this is how many companies do business these days, but there are good methods out there for removing adware.
Your computer: It may seem obvious, but if you loan your device to someone, even for a minute or two, they can find your IP address in the device settings easily.
Hackers can use phishing attacks to access your IP address.
Protecting Your IP Address
There are a number of steps you can take to protect your IP address:
Update your firewall: Firewalls can’t protect you if you don’t use them properly. Make sure you use secure passwords on your firewall, your router, and all your devices and accounts. You should also make it a habit to update these passwords regularly. Doing so will help prevent anyone from breaching your security.
Change your privacy settings: Hackers can gain access to your IP address through messaging apps such as Skype. Make sure your messaging apps are set to private, and don’t accept calls or messages from anyone you don’t know.
Use a VPN: A VPN, or virtual private network, routes your internet activity through one or more servers and assigns you a new IP address. The best VPN services assign you an address that no one can trace back to you.
Use a proxy server: Like VPNs, proxy servers also hide your IP address when you’re logged in. Unlike VPNs, proxy servers don’t use high-end encryption to shield your online activity. They only hide your IP address.
Use Tor software: Tor is a web browser that lets you browse online anonymously. Like a VPN or proxy server, Tor hides your IP address, in this case by routing it through an open-source network of other Tor users. Hackers breached Tor back in 2019. A group that called itself 0v1ru$ managed to steal 7. 5 TB of data from a Russian agency. 2 However, Tor said it has fixed the problem.
Switch to mobile data: IP addresses aren’t involved in mobile data. Assuming you have the data to spare, switching to mobile data will ensure you don’t have to worry about IP address leaks at all.
Talk with your ISP: If you’re especially concerned about the security of your IP address, you might want to chat with your ISP. It may be able to suggest some solutions like assigning you a dynamic IP address that changes regularly.
Using a VPN like FastestVPN can help protect your IP address.
Can Someone Use My IP Address to Control My Computer Remotely?
By itself, an IP address doesn’t allow hackers to control your computer or impersonate you online. An IP address is simply a numeric tag that identifies your device and provides information about your general geolocation.
However, if hackers manage to gain access to your computer through other means, like malware, they can use your IP address to conduct all sorts of shady activities in your name. They might, for instance, make death threats or sell drugs. Of course, this scenario can’t happen if you keep your operating system up to date and use strong antivirus software.
Avast Antivirus – Mac is Protected
What to Do If Someone Has Your IP Address
You can’t stop someone from using your IP address if they have it; just like you can’t stop someone from using your Social Security number if you lost your Social Security card. However, you can change your IP address any time you want. Assuming you’re working at home, the easiest way to change your address is to unplug your router for five minutes and then plug it back in. Once it starts up, you’ll have a new IP address.
You can also change your IP address on the device itself, and the process is just as easy. Of course, the specific steps will depend on what type of device you’re using.
To change your address on a Windows device:
Press the Win+R keys at the same time.
In the Run box that appears, type Cmd and hit Enter.
Type Inconfig /Release.
When the text stops scrolling, type Inconfig /Renew.
If you’re changing the address on a Mac:
Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen.
Choose System Preferences.
On the next screen, click TCP/IP.
Click Renew DHCP lease.
To change your address on an Android device:
Navigate to Settings.
Select the network you’re using.
Log on to the network again, and you’ll have a new address.
To change your address on an iPhone:
Select the network you’re using currently.
Under the IPv4 address, select Configure IP.
In some cases, your VPN or network manager may have given you a new IP address. You can also change your IP address by typing these numbers in manually.
To change your Windows address:
Make sure you’re working from your administrator account.
Go to Start.
Choose the Control Panel.
Select Network Connection.
Choose your LAN connection.
Type in your new address.
To change your IP address on a Mac:
Find System Preferences.
If you’re using an Android device:
Tap the gear-shaped icon to bring up your current address.
Choose IP Settings.
Click on Static.
To change your IP address on an iPhone:
Under the IPv4 section, click Configure IP.
THE MORE YOU KNOW: There’s an easy fix if you think someone may know your IP address. Head to your device’s settings and change the address to a completely new one.
What can someone do with your IP address? It turns out they can do quite a bit, from filling your inbox with spam to conducting illegal activities in your name.
Luckily, there are means of protecting yourself, such as antivirus software and VPNs. Of course, if all else fails, you can always just change your IP address. Whatever option you choose, a secure device means keeping your address protected.
We’re not done just yet. As a bonus, we’ve taken the time to answer some of your most frequently asked questions about what someone can do with your IP address.
Should I be worried if someone has my IP address?
No, you shouldn’t worry if someone has your IP address. If someone has your IP address, they could send you spam or restrict your access to certain services. In extreme cases, a hacker might be able to impersonate you.
However, all you need to do to fix the problem is change your IP address. You can do this easily in the settings of your device, or you can restart your router.
What information can someone get with my IP address?
The only direct information someone can get with your IP address is your general geographic location, usually your city or postal code. If they have additional information about you, such as your birthdate or Social Security number, a hacker might be able to steal your identity or impersonate you online. And, of course, law enforcement can track you through your IP address by contacting your ISP. An IP address by itself, though, doesn’t give anyone access to your personal information automatically.
Can someone find me through my IP address?
Using your IP address, someone can identify what city or geographic region you’re in. However, without additional information, no one can find you.
What do I do if someone has my IP address?
If you suspect someone has your IP address, the easiest solution is simply to change your IP address. You can do this by shutting down your router for five minutes and restarting it. Once it restarts, it will assign all your devices completely new addresses.
You can also change your address by going into the settings of each device and refreshing the IP address. In addition, you can use a VPN service. A VPN routes your internet activity through a server and assigns you a new IP address that in many cases can’t be traced back to you.
What can someone do with my IP address? | NordVPN
There are dangers to someone knowing your IP address, but they’re rarely discussed. Criminals can use your IP to launch various cyberattacks and scams against you and others. Before we begin, however, let’s start with finding out what your personal IP address is: What is my IP? By the end of this post, you’ll know what to protect yourself against and discover ways to hide your IP address. Pretty can someone find my IP address? Your IP address is a unique string of numbers assigned to you by your ISP – like a delivery address for online traffic. If you connect to a different Wi-Fi or move house, your IP address will change along with your ISPs use dynamic IP addresses, which aren’t fixed to your device, but you can have a static IP if you wish to (you can learn more about different types of IP addresses here). For example, if you want your computer IP address to always stay the same, you’ll be able to specify that through the device’s settings. This can be useful when port-forwarding, if you want certain data to be sent directly from your router to your computer IP your IP address holds certain information about you, someone may want to use it for malicious purposes. There plenty of ways people can get hold of your IP address. Here are just a few:If you torrent files. When you download content from torrent sites, every member of the swarm (total seeders and leechers) can see your IP address. All they need to do is check the list of borrowing your device. If somebody borrows or uses your computer, they can find out what your IP address is in seconds, as there are countless free websites that let you do an email. If you send an email to someone, they can check the header of the message, which could contain your IP address. Yahoo! and Microsoft Outlook are known to include IP addresses in the email icking on a link. Any link you click on will need to provide your iP address for the server at the other end to deliver the content provided by the link. Whoever owns that server will see your IP a VPN hide my IP address? Yes, it does. A VPN completely hides your IP address and encrypts your internet connection. Even better, a VPN prevents third parties like your ISP from eavesdropping on your data. Your online activity cannot be traced back to you, giving you a powerful layer of rdVPN has more than 5500 servers in 59 countries, providing you with the best speeds available. With one NordVPN account, you can protect up to six different devices: smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more. You can also install it on your router and secure gadgets that don’t support VPN functionality can jump from one server to another in seconds, changing your IP address and masking your location. Protect your online privacy out NordVPN on the latest cyber news and tipsWhat can people do with your IP? While your IP address won’t give away sensitive information like your phone number or apartment position, hackers can still use your IP against you. If a cybercriminal knows your IP address, the consequences can be devastating:Someone can get your location and intrude on your privacy in real lifeYour IP address shows what city you’re in, so if someone ill-intentioned finds it out, you could be in trouble. Let’s say you’ve announced that you’re going on holiday on your social media. A criminal only needs to do a little extra digging to find your house and burgle it while you’re meone can use your IP to hack your deviceThe internet uses ports as well as your IP address to connect. There are thousands of ports for every IP address, and a hacker who has your IP can try all of those ports to brute-force a connection, taking over your phone for example and stealing your a criminal does get access to your device, they could also install malware on it, which could expose your meone can impersonate you to get hold of your IP addressYour ISP could reveal your IP address to someone else. Criminals who know your name on social media can contact your ISP and try to impersonate you or use a vishing attack to steal your personal details. Remember that telecom operators are only humans who use systems with vast amounts of personally identifiable information. Employers can track your activityIPs are owned by ISPs, and each IP is assigned to a user. When you’re connected to your work network your employers could potentially see and track everything you do online – giving you hardly any privacy at all. A hacker can hit you with a DDoS attackIf a hacker has your IP address, they could harm you with a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. A DDoS attack uses an army of computers controlled by a hacker to flood your device with traffic so it disconnects from the internet and completely shuts bercriminals can frame you for illegal activityHackers are known to use hacked IP addresses to download illegal content that threatens national security as well as anything else they don’t want traced back to them. Protect your IP address, and you will protect do I stop someone from using my IP address? You should always protect any personally identifiable information even if you think the risks do not apply to you. With enough determination, a bad actor can stitch together an entire identity just by going online, and your IP could be the starting are three ways to protect your IP address and prevent yourself from being exploited by hackers: Change your privacy settingsChange the settings on all your instant messaging as well as any other apps to “private” and don’t accept calls or messages from people you don’t know. Hackers are known to gain access to your IP address through messaging apps like Skype. Update your firewall and routerA criminal can hack your router remotely and retrieve your IP address, especially if you’re still using the default one. Change the password of your router regularly and be sure to use a long mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. Use a VPNA VPN will protect your IP address and your private information. By routing your online data through a VPN server with its own IP address, you can prevent websites from logging information about your device and location. While you might be principally interested in VPNs for their IP-switching functionality, they also come with a range of additional other benefits can a VPN offer? A VPN will establish an encrypted tunnel between your device and a VPN server. That means that no one can spy on your data as it moves from your device to the server — not even your internet service provider (ISP) has never been more valuable. Your ISP can monitor your activity and sell that information to advertisers and other third parties. Hackers can steal your passwords and use your private details to launch phishing attacks. It’s vital that you protect your rdVPN provides a number of extra features that you might find particularly useful. Our CyberSec system will enhance your protection against malware by shielding you from high-risk websites and other known threats. When Kill Switch is enabled, you can avoid any unexpected data exposure. And with the NordLynx protocol, you can enjoy unrivaled speeds, without compromising on out NordVPN on the latest cyber news and tips
Zen likes to use her cybersecurity knowledge to help protect the privacy and freedom of others, otherwise, you can find her playing with paints in her studio in London.
What You Can Do With an IP Address, and How to Hide Yours
With someone’s IP address, you can learn a user’s general location, and disable some parts of their internet browsing device connected to the internet has an IP address, which helps websites identify your third-party programs or services, someone with your IP address could possibly block you from reaching certain you’re concerned about the security of your IP address, consider installing a firewall and Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.
Something is loading.
Every device that connects to the internet has an IP (Internet Protocol) address. The
IP address, which is composed of a series of numbers separated by decimal points, looks something like “198. 169. 0. 100. ” This number is used to help devices talk to each other and exchange data. Your network router has its own IP address, of course, as does every device on your network. But because these identifiers are so important, that means a hacker can potentially use them against you. Here’s what you should know about your IP address, and what it can be used for.
What you can do with an IP addressFirstly: most users won’t have to worry about any of this. It’s unlikely that any hacker would take the time to learn your specific IP address, and manipulate your specific device. There’s no real reward in it for them, so unless they love playing pranks, it would be a waste of fact, every website you visit already knows your IP address — that’s how they know to load on your computer, as opposed to someone else’ said, armed with your IP address, someone has the potential to take certain actions against your network. As such, it’s a good idea to keep your IP private from individuals you don’t could:
Block you from accessing websitesIt’s possible to use your IP address to prevent you from performing certain online activities. The most common example of this is blocking your ability to reach a certain site, or to post messages in forums or the comment section of web sites. In fact, this is the most common way that website administrators ban rulebreakers. It’s often referred to as an “IP Ban. “Your IP address can also be used to block or ban you from playing online games on some gaming services.
Learn your general geographic location Your IP address can reveal your geographic location. In most cases, this won’t be any more specific than your city and state. In rare cases, it could be as specific as your IP address also carries the name of your Internet Service Provider (the company that gives you internet access — think Spectrum, or Xfinity).
Your IP address signals where you are. ; William Antonelli/Business Insider
While there’s not a lot someone can do with this information, it can be combined with details from other sources to piece together data about your identity.
Perform a Denial of Service AttackKnowing your IP address, a malicious user may be able to perform a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, in which your network is flooded with data. It prevents normal traffic from getting through and overloads the network’s ability to function. However, these attacks are usually directed at large companies or websites — it’s rare that anyone would set up a DoS attack on a regular user.
How to protect your IP addressWhile there are some risks, your IP address alone poses very limited danger to you or your network. Your IP address can’t be used to reveal your identity or specific location, nor can it be used to hack into or remotely take control of your computer. That said, if you’re still concerned, a few simple precautions can help protect and foremost, your network should be protected with a firewall. Most routers have firewalls built in, but you should contact your router manufacturer or internet service provider to learn about your additional protection, you can use Virtual Private Network (
VPN) software. A VPN hides your IP address from all outside users, making it extremely difficult for someone to uncover your IP address or monitor your online activity.
NordVPN is one of the most popular VPN services.
NordVPN; William Antonelli/Business Insider
‘What is my IP? ‘: Here’s what an IP address does, and how to find yours’What is a good internet speed? ‘: The internet speeds you should aim for, based on how you use the internet’What is Wi-Fi calling? ‘: How to make calls from your smartphone even if you don’t have a cell signalHow to find the IP address of your internet router using a Mac, PC, iPhone, or AndroidNo, Bluetooth doesn’t use cellular data — here’s how the popular wireless technology connects your devices
Dave Johnson is a technology journalist who writes about consumer tech and how the industry is transforming the speculative world of science fiction into modern-day real life. Dave grew up in New Jersey before entering the Air Force to operate satellites, teach space operations, and do space launch planning. He then spent eight years as a content lead on the Windows team at Microsoft. As a photographer, Dave has photographed wolves in their natural environment; he’s also a scuba instructor and co-host of several podcasts. Dave is the author of more than two dozen books and has contributed to many sites and publications including CNET, Forbes, PC World, How To Geek, and Insider.
Insider Inc. receives a commission when you buy through our links.
Frequently Asked Questions about what happens if someone gets your ip
What happens if someone knows your IP address?
However, if a hacker knows your IP address, they can use it to seize very valuable information, including your location and online identity. Using this information as a starting point, they could potentially hack your device, steal your identity, and more.Oct 8, 2021
Is it dangerous to give someone your IP address?
While there are some risks, your IP address alone poses very limited danger to you or your network. Your IP address can’t be used to reveal your identity or specific location, nor can it be used to hack into or remotely take control of your computer.Jun 2, 2020
What happens if your IP address gets leaked?
So, when your VPN leaks your original IP address, it means you can’t hide your online browsing behavior, access geographically-restricted websites, and apps, or visit sites where your IP address is blacklisted.Feb 27, 2020