What is my IP address is a question that can have two answers. The first answer would be that your IP address is a unique identification code that is used to identify your computer any time that it logs onto the Internet. The second answer to what is my IP address would be given by providing the unique numerical code that is your physical IP address. Your IP address, for most people, is linked directly to you and there are ways to find out what your street address is and other personal information simply by using an IP address. Fortunately, it takes a bit of skill to pry out that information but Internet Users are usually quite happy to provide information to public sources because they often times do not realize what information is available within the public sector. If we look at a few companies that provide information about IP addresses, I think you will begin to get the idea about how unsafe your personal data actually is.
What is My IP is a company that can instantly provide you with your IP address. It also can tell whether or not you are using a proxy server. That is a simple service and sometimes useful if you are the owner of the computer and you need to log in to or change a router setting, etc. There are other services available through What Is My IP and one tool in particular stands out. The Whois Lookup tool can instantly provide the details of your internet service provider simply by inputting your IP Address. This is beginning to get personal.
IP Look UP
IP Look UP: www.whatismyip.com
When I visited IP Look Up, The information that I received was even more comprehensive and I did not have to utilize the Whois lookup feature as I did on What Is My IP. This site not only instantly provided my IP address, it provided my internet service provider (ISP) along with contact information and a host of other data that was fairly meaningless to me but may not to an Internet thief.
IP Tools: www.iptools.com
IP Tools is a site that provides information about your IP and data, and also provides information in reverse which means that anywhere you go on the net, that destination can track you. Though the site offers many tools such as Ping, IP to Country and Traceroute, they make it easy to find out about people other than yourself simply by inputting an IP address. The information available is not limited to IP it crosses over to the domain and DNS which lead to website security as well as personal security issues.
Trace IP: www.tracemyip.org
Trace IP provided not only my IP address but the state and city and the latitude/longitude of where I live, and all I did was type in their web address. This is how easy it is to have your IP address and personal information tracked. Further, Trace IP was able to tell me what kind of browser I was using, who my internet provider is, and whether or not I have a proxy server and what my internet security level is. This is all valuable information.
Why is all of this information available to the public? Part of the answer is that websites need to know certain information about your computer system and part of that information that is needed is your IP address. You IP address allows servers and web components to keep track of requests that your computer makes. Requests such as viewing pictures, information behind tabs or links that you press. All of these things and ways that we interact with web services are tracked by your IP address. IN fact without sharing most of this information our computers would not be able to function on the internet. There are companies out there that have programs that can help. Companies such as Change IP which allows Internet users to take control over their IP address and domains by issuing dynamic IP and dynamic web addresses. These are certainly steps in the right direction, but are they enough to protect your personal data from the prying eyes of Internet thieves? What may be a better question is what defines an Internet thief? Any person or company that takes your personal information without your permission is an Internet thief… in fact, the definition of malware is a program or software that is designed to take sensitive information without authorization or to damage a system or computer. We protect our computers against malware attacks, but do we protect our computers against information theft?
One Solution is Hide IP which is a paid service that helps to make your IP address invisible. This is a proxy service that utilizes US and UK IP addresses for consumers who buy the services. A proxy is a front that allows your computer to share all of the key information that it needs to share with web components but it does so with a false IP address. This means that any data returned via the above list of programs reflects the proxy and not your own IP address.
Free services like Hidemyass.com allow Internet users to utilize the services of a Pro VPN (Virtual Private Network) to anonymously and securely connect to the Internet. This prevents hackers and network spies from seeing your data because it is not only sent via a proxy it is encrypted. This is one method to safely remove your data from the public domain and still be able to surf the Internet. In fact, the VPN feature allows file to file transfer and anonymous email which works well when we have to provide an email address for a service we may not completely trust. In short, using a VPN service whether it is paid for or like hidemyass.com which is free, removes your data and sensitive information out of the public realm. These services will enable you to do all of your internet business online without the worry, or hassle, but with the peace of mind that you are protected.