5 Smart Ways to Avoid IP Address Tracking

5 Smart Ways to Avoid IP Address Tracking

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Your IP address is the electronic equivalent of your actual address. And just like you don’t want predators knowing your home address, you don’t want them knowing your IP address.

If someone else gets a hold of it, they can do anything from utilize your internet connection to steal your personal information.

Consider the following ways to keep your IP address safe and out of sight:

Use a Virtual Private Network

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an excellent and high-tech way to protect your IP address from predators.

Essentially, when you use a VPN to surf the internet, your information goes through your VPN company-meaning that your IP address never gets out to be stolen. Even if someone does try to take your IP address, all they will see is the general location of your IP server-which could be anywhere in the world!

The best part about using a VPN is that after it’s set up, you don’t have to do anything different to log into your ISP, so you can be protected, not inconvenienced.

Never click links

Most people know that you shouldn’t click on a link leading you to a disreputable site such as one advertising for pornography or quick money schemes. What people don’t know, however, is that you should be careful with all links, not just those that look openly like harmful sites.

When browsing, any “pop up” windows that appear, no matter how innocent they or their product look, should never be clicked on. These pop up window links may just lead to a website designed to steal your IP address. These ads can look very real and even the websites they lead you to can look safe; hackers purposely design them to look legit, because the longer you stay on the site, the easier it is for them to steal your IP address.

If you see a link to a product or company that intrigues you, don’t click on it; instead, Google it and find the link that way, as it will be less likely to be a scam.

Disable cookies

Cookies are yummy, but they have no place in your computer. A cookie is a program that saves your data so that you can access it faster when you go to a web page. While this sounds like a great way to make your browsing faster, it also allows outsiders to easily find your browsing activities-and attack your IP address. You can turn off cookies in your web browser.

Change your “user agent”

A user agent is a unique ID that is logged by your web browser. It determines the type of device you are on (which allows you to view mobile websites easily on cell phones). Even though this sounds great, this unique ID makes you-and your IP address-highly visible to predators. Make sure to change the user agent in your web browser often.

Change your IP address

Even if you do all of the above, there is still a chance that your IP address could be stolen.

Most cable modems keep you on a static IP address to make it quicker to log into your web server. This makes it easy for predators to find you. Make sure to change your IP address by resetting your router often (this is as easy as pushing a button or unplugging and then plugging your router back in).

This post is contributed by Westbrook Julian. She believes that awareness and prevention are the key to effectively combating online ID theft. Preventive measures range from hiding ip address to encrypting online connection thru the use of many online security layers. She always says that “an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure”.

  • 0or8afh

    Interesting post. I would, however, like to offer some clarification and some suggestions.

    First, I would concur with the suggestion regarding a VPN. I use one myself, and really enjoy the relative peace of mind I get by not intentionally exposing my IP address as I traipse across the internet. But be warned that even using a VPN isn’t full protection against “IP Tracking.” Another way is via your DNS servers.

    DNS servers translate the NAME of a website (which we humans can easily remember, such as http://www.DuckDuckGo.com, my favorite search engine), into the NUMBER of a website (which computers understand).

    To avoid, or at least minimize, tracking, use DNS servers that are NOT the ones provided to you by your ISP. As an example, the ISP CenturyLink uses their own DNS servers. I like, however, to use multiple free DNS servers. And a great tool I use for regularly and easily switching between these many DNS servers is a free program called DNS Jumper. (I don’t know or work for or otherwise receive any compensation from anyone for suggesting this software. I like it, it does what it says and it’s free.)

    Second is this statement: “When browsing, any ‘pop up’ windows that appear, no matter how innocent they or their product look, should never be clicked on.”

    Interestingly, in order to post here with my Disqus account, I had to click on their pop-up. So, clearly the “should never be clicked on” statement should be carefully considered before following. Having said that, given that most modern browsers have features to block pop-ups, it seems to me to be less likely that pop-ups will be encountered. Also, be aware, as was the case with Disqus here, the user may actually click on something (known and trusted) that will bring up a pop-up. My advice would be: don’t click on a pop-up that isn’t expected AND isn’t from a well-known and trusted source (to you).

    Third, is this opening line: “Cookies are yummy, but they have no place in your computer.”

    Ummm, once again we have a situation where a good thing can be abused. And, in the case of cookies, HAS BEEN abused and STILL IS being abused. But let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    There are numerous programs/add-ons/etc. that can and do a fine job helping a user to manage cookies: which ones are helpful to me (not the advertisers, etc.) and which ones are not. But to completely disable cookies will likely, in my humble opinion, cripple the vast majority of users.

    Cookies in the tech world aren’t really that different from cookies that are in the kitchen: moderation applies to both.

    Fourth, once again I concur with the writer’s advice in regards to the “User Agent.” I do this regularly. That is to say, multiple times every hour or so. It’s easy with browser add-ons for Firefox, and probably Opera. IE? Probably not so much.

    But be aware that changing the User Agent isn’t likely to be as “anonymizing” as one might think.

    To see what I mean, I suggest users go to https://panopticlick.eff.org/. This is the EFF’s (Electronic Frontier Foundation’s) web page that looks at and classifies how well — or poorly — a given visitor performs when it comes to the uniqueness of their browser.

    Check it out. I think you’ll realize, as I did, that there is quite a bit our computers tell websites. It’s crazy.

    Finally, the idea of resetting the router isn’t really going to hurt anything, unless, perhaps, you’re running a gaming server. But in my experience, the issuance of a different IP address is a rare occurrence. And while dial-up service would, more times than not, issue a new IP address upon each new dial-up session, those days are pretty much behind us.

    Anyway, I do appreciate Ms. Julian’s thoughts here, and do thank her for her time.

    I hope this helps someone.