Everything that we do online can be tracked and found if we aren’t paying attention. Most of us don’t bother to learn a lot about computers and technology. This, in turn, makes us vulnerable to hackers. If we aren’t careful how and where we buy things on the internet, our actions may be spied upon or used against us. All of these things make sense when you understand IP addresses.
What is it?
An IP address is something that a computer uses to get connected to the internet. It’s a number that is associated with all the things we do online. It stands for Internet Protocol address, and it is not quite complicated to understand. When our computers connect to a network, they send a request. After this, an answer that tells them they’re connected gives the access to use it. All of the things that happen have specific protocols to follow. And, of course, they are all related to your return address.
Nobody ever notices these processes because they happen extremely fast. The entire thing gets worked out in a matter of milliseconds. But, a fascinating thing is that IP addresses can be changed, and they change all of the time. At home, we all have a specific one that is set by our providers. It’s their job to grant us the internet, so they give us an address as well. If we turn the modem off and on again, the address will be changed. Another way to have a new one is to go in a place with public Wi-Fi and check it back. It will be different again.
Why should you be worried?
Everything that we do online makes its way through these IP addresses. This means that someone knows what we are ordering, reading and doing. For some people, this is an invasion of their privacy. Even ISPs sometimes restrict web pages, and in order to have access to them, you need an anonymous IP address. This can be attained in many different ways. But the most common is using a VPN, using a proxy, using the Tor browser, and free public WiFi. Here is an in-depth guide about them: https://www.fastestvpnguide.com/how-to-hide-ip-address/
What is a VPN?
VPN is short of a virtual private network. This is the best way to conceal all of your internet activity. By using these services, you show everyone a different IP rather than your original one. Aside from that, browsing is faster than other methods. The goal is to be secure, and this is the optimal method.
Someone might try to hack you in a public place. This is because there are loads of data flowing around in areas of free Wi-Fi. Because hackers love these places, they might try to steal credit card info or bank details. Either way, something that no one wants happening to them. VPNs use many protocols to ensure that every user is wholly protected.
What is Tor?
Tor is a browser similar to Chrome, Safari, Mozilla, and Opera. What divides it from the rest is the level of encryption. Tor uses multiple layers of heavy-duty protection. It’s free to download, and it’s a nonprofit company. They rely a lot on their users’ support and donations as well. This is why they provide such a quality product. Now, we’ll talk about how it works.
Data from our computers travels to its final point via different routes. What Tor does is it uses these data requests and bounces them between tons of servers. This means that your data runs through a different path every time you visit a site. And, since these servers are everywhere around the world, your IP will be masked by miles of territory.
For example, one of the data requests will go through Panama, Argentina, the US, Russia, and Bulgaria. Another one will go through multiple other countries. In this way, it’s impossible to find your IP address, as well as your location. However, this makes Tor quite slower than the other methods. Traveling and making way through the entire world takes time. If this isn’t something that is bothersome, it’s definitely an option to consider.
What is a proxy?
Proxies mask internet identities. They are used to redirect your requests from a specific website. When you usually are online, the ISPs are the ones who carry out the entire process. On the other hand, a proxy will make some changes to it. The requests go through the ISP, but then they are sent to a particular server, and after that, they go to the website. This masks the original location, and you’re in the clear.
A relevant thing to note here is that proxies aren’t that safe as the other methods. Sometimes, ISPs or employers restrict or punish users who use them. Since most people use proxies in libraries, schools, and workplaces, this method may be ineffective for the general public. There are many free servers online that guarantee safety. Not all of them have the same amount of authenticity and anonymity. Often times, they will tell websites that the passing data request is from a proxy, and they will give your IP as well. You won’t notice a difference, that’s why it’s important to know all of the risks. Click here to read more.
A few final words
Privacy in the digital age is something that we all strive to secure. We don’t want everyone to know what we search for. More importantly, we don’t want people hacking into our computers and looking through our files. Out of all of the things above, the most useful method is using a VPN. The amount of servers that Tor uses is slow for most people. This is why VPNs prevail. On the other hand, proxies have a risk attached to them that isn’t equal to the reward. Everyone is free to make a decision, that’s why it’s up to you to pick the best method.