For years, part of who we are has been established by an address of some kind. If it is not describing who you are entirely it is describing a part of you for a brief moment in time. For example, if you had an address that was considered to be on the rich side of town; you were looked at differently than someone who had an address that was from the wrong side of the tracks. A home address is just a part of saying who you are. It is just a part of your identity. Just like your last name.
In the digital age we have something that is also an address for you of some sorts. It is called an IP address. But an IP address is a lot different than a traditional home address. It is a group of numbers that are unique and announces your presence online. But at the same time it is also a group of numbers that anyone can use without you knowing about it. While an IP address to you may be no big deal, to people on the wrong side of the law in the digital world, your IP address can be their ticket to a lot of money down the road.
As we said earlier in the article, an IP address announces to people who you are online. When you go to a web page that is hosted on a server, it is alerted to your presence through your IP address. We will not get into the gritty details about how your computer and the server sends each other header files that announces what they want to do but it is a fascinating process that you should look up later. When the server finally does get your IP address, it sends you the content that you want. Now you are able to talk back and forth with each other like you were having a normal conversation.
The reason why the bad guys would want your IP address for their personal use is because each number is unique. And not only is it unique but it can also tell where you are. So if you are doing something illegal and you do not want anyone to be able to trace where it is coming from then you need to have another IP address to do it from. There is no better place to get an IP address than from someone else who does not even know that someone else is on their system. So black hat hackers find ways to get into strangers’ computer systems and from there they do all types of terrible things.
With your IP address a black hat hacker can run a credit card scam, host illegal files and run a DDOS attack all without getting caught. You will be the one blamed for the actions and not the person who actually did it. We even see people who get blamed for downloading illegal music files when in reality it was just their neighbor piggybacking off of their WIFI connection. And because they did not lock down their WIFI connection, they are the ones who get sued.
Your IP address can say a lot about you and say nothing about you all at the same time. It can get you in trouble even when you have not done anything wrong. So that is why it is important to have computer security software running at all times. IP hijacking is only one of the many crimes that it can save you from.