IP Address Lookup
Every item you connect to the internet has its own unique code. That is how the internet recognizes the device and how your digital footprint collects information about you. There are ways of masking that online code, but it is not the default for devices today. If you want to hide that code from others looking into details about you, one of the most effective ways is to get set up with an anonymous IP.
"IP" stands for internet protocol. It refers to the specific number that an internet-capable device uses to interact with other devices on the internet. The identification number allows your device to interact and be interacted with by other devices.
Anyone can use IP addresses to find a person’s location, identity, personal network, and more. IPs are translucent by themselves—they require protection and security to protect you and your family. Protect your IP addresses by masking them and upping security against cyber threats.
Masked IP addresses work by usurping the original IP for a new one. The new IP is associated with different information than the real version. Further, while the original remains "connected" to your device, the fake IP is the only thing hackers and network administrators can see.
Some online tools allow a person to enter an IP and receive information about if the address is fake. These tools can only determine if the IP is legitimate—they cannot collect the original for malicious uses. Depending on the masking used, the original will be destroyed for a new one or simply "hidden".
There are many ways to turn an original IP into an anonymous IP address. The type of approach that you use to hide it will indicate how the IP is hidden. For example, some users may choose to use a generator that changes their IP daily, whereas others may use an encrypted "tunnel" system like a VPN. The subsequent section will discuss options for every user to mask their IPs.
Having a masked IP does more than provide security to your devices. Hiding an IP also provides the end user with additional benefits. Some of these include:
The favorite choice of many internet users and hackers, VPNs provide superior masking abilities.
VPNs work by having the user’s signal run through an encrypted "tunnel" to a protected server. From there, the signal runs out to a web resource, but it has become a different IP address in the transition. Said another way, this might look like this:
[Original IP] ==> [VPN Servers] ==> [New IP] interacting with [internet]
These networks are usually subscription-based, although some come "free" with hidden costs. For example, many free VPN services collect the information put into them and then turn around and sell it.
Malicious services are rampant in modernity, so make sure to do research before committing to any internet security service.
Proxy servers are attractive because they commit a sort of self-sacrifice to protect your information.
Proxy servers operate by acting as a "decoy" for your VPN. A user’s signal maneuvers through a proxy server before interacting with the internet. The signal affected by the proxy changes and is shown in place of the original. This might look something like:
[Original IP] ==> [Proxy] ==> [Proxy IP] interacting with [internet]
Proxy servers are great tools for hackers to abuse because every proxy-created IP is unique. Hackers can take these unique IPs and weaponize them as a facade for their actions.
Tor is also interesting, although not because it acts very similar to a proxy server. But instead, it is infamous for accessing the dark web and other hard-to-reach areas of the internet.
This option works essentially the same as a proxy server. Tor is a web browser that accepts internet traffic, encrypts it, runs it through several proxy servers, then spits it back out with a new IP. The new IP is the only thing other people see. Formulated another way:
[Original IP] == [Tor browser] == [Proxy changes] == [New IP] interacting with [web page]
The favorite choice of hackers throughout the history of the internet, botnets also mask IPs. How they mask IPs, though, is what separates them from other options.
Botnets use many devices in an area or network to build a wall around the primary device. A botnet of 100 devices would require sifting through the 99 connected devices to find the controller.
Botnets lasso all the IPs they can, then throw one in front of their own when needed. This could look like this:
[Original IP] =|= [random Device IP] interacting with [internet]
Of course, if you aren’t into hacker-man antics, you can always change the IP of any smart device.
Depending on the operating system and age, there are a few different ways to do this. A quick internet search will point anyone in the right direction. Some services change a device’s IP daily—giving new protection each morning.
Note: When researching how to change your IP address, do not download or click on any links unless the source is legitimate. It costs nothing to change or mask your IP address.
Anonymous IP addresses are some of the most valuable tools an internet user can implement. They conceal the sensitive information that computers and smart devices cannot hide.
Although commonly used by cybercriminals—choosing to use masked information is an excellent step towards higher and better internet security.