We have never been more present in the online world as we are now. Not only are people studying or working online every day, but there is also hardly any activity left you can’t accomplish online. If you need to attend a meeting, you can do it over Zoom, and if you want to have a viewing of the apartment you want to rent, you can do it digitally. You can even virtually try out clothes thanks to online shopping and 3d virtual fitting rooms. From individuals to businesses, we have all embraced this new reality and have found a way to make it work for us.
Businesses can reach customers from all over the world and expand to new markets with just few clicks, while individuals can speak with their loved ones anytime they need or even organize their perfect vacation without leaving the comfort of their homes.
But did you know that all of that is made possible by a simple technological marvel, an IP address? There are still so many people who don’t know what an IP address even is, let alone imagine how important it is. Not only is it the key to our online access, but it also helps you to stay safe online with IP fraud scoring. Who knows what other secrets hide behind your IP address. Well, get ready to find out.
What is actually an IP address?
First thing first, before we can discover its secrets, we need to know what exactly an IP address is. In the simplest terms possible, the IP or internet protocol address is a unique numeric value identifying a device on the Internet or a local network. Basically, you can think of it like your home address but for your computer when connected to the Internet.
Every device connected to the Internet has an IP address that is used as its identifier so they can communicate online. With a total of 5 billion people worldwide using the Internet today, how else would we be able to stay connected? Without an IP address, It would be impossible to differentiate between all those different devices.
Imagine how hard it would be to deliver a letter to someone if the envelope has no identifying information. Impossible, right? This is where your home address comes to help in the real world and your IP address in the online world.
Your home address on the envelope lets the delivery person know where they need to deliver the package, and the IP address tells the Internet where to send the requested data. The good thing is that it is automatically revealed to the websites or apps as you are accessing them, so you don’t have to know it or remember it when you try to access the Internet.
What can an IP address reveal about you?
Now that you know what an IP address is, we can delve into what secret it can hide and what it can reveal about you to other internet users. You share your IP address every time you access the Internet to visit a website, send an email, or even play a game. Since no two IP addresses are the same, it can reveal some interesting details about you.
The most important thing your IP address can reveal about you is your general geolocation. Don’t be afraid. It won’t reveal your precise location or other confidential details; rather, it will reveal your city, ZIP code, or area from where you are connecting from.
Have you ever wondered how your search engines can know where you are located when you are looking for a restaurant suggestion? They use your IP address to determine your geolocation so they can give you more relevant recommendations. Even the streaming services are using it to discover your location, so they adapt their service or to determine if you are located within their accepted countries.
Your IP address also indicates your Internet Service Provider, revealing if you are accessing the network from a public or private connection. Additionally, websites can use your IP address to recognize you during your return visits to provide you with better service and to protect you against cyberattacks.
They can prevent account takeover attacks or identity thefts by using your IP address to confirm your identity and recognize any discrepancies that might indicate a malicious actor breached your account. For example, fraudsters might be able to access your account and try to steal your money or purchase goods.
Modern fraud prevention strategies use tools such as online fingerprinting or fraud scoring to recognize patterns in your behavior to determine if you are who you say you are and to prevent fraudulent attempts. This way businesses can notice when there is a change in your geolocation, such as your account being accessed from a completely different country.
To ensure there is nothing amiss, they can take necessary steps such as blocking your access entirely if your IP address indicates more issues or asking you to provide an additional verification method that can confirm your identity.
Who would’ve thought this small numerical sequence can hide so many secrets behind it?
Your IP address is your ID in the online world which helps you to interact in this growing digital world. Unfortunately, it can be used for the good or the bad. While businesses might use it for targeted marketing, providing you with the best recommendations or to protect you from fraudulent actions, cybercriminals have something completely opposite on their mind.
Fraudsters always have something bad on their mind, and they are willing to do anything to accomplish their goals, even to exploit your IP address. But, we can’t live in fear. Fraudsters will always try to do their worst, and the only thing we can do is to do our best. By educating yourself about how to stay safe online and protect yourself and your IP address, you will be able to continue enjoying your digital life.