IP Address Hacked! What to Do and How to Prevent It from Happening Again
Various laptops, phones, or other internet-connected devices are compromised every 39 seconds.
While there are complex ways for hackers to attack you, many adhere to a straightforward IP address hacking strategy.
Hackers can expose your online behaviors, location, and financial resources if they access your IP address.
These types of private data might not appear like much when taken separately. However, hackers can misuse them to monitor your devices, break into your accounts, and sometimes even obtain your identity.
How can you determine if your IP address is compromised, then?
In this blog, I will go over how cybercriminals use your IP address, how to know if your IP address is compromised, and the steps you can take to secure your personal information and devices from hackers.
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What is IP Hacking?
IP hacking (also known as IP hijacking) is an MITM attack. It is a type of cyber attack in which an authorized user accesses a legitimate connection of another client in the network. Once IP is compromised, hacker can read and modify transmitted data packetss, send requests to the addressee, and launch DDoS attack.
How Do IP Addresses Work?
A network or particular connected device (such as a smartphone, laptop, etc.) gives an IP address, also known as an "internet protocol" address, that is, a number that enables data transmission and reception over the internet.
The IP address is a crucial component of identifying a vulnerable person for individuals who even possess the most basic hacking abilities. It is because compromised IP addresses expose your:
- State or region
- (Approximate) GPS coordinates
- Internet service provider
- Type of IP address (static, private, public, or dynamic IP address)
Cybercriminals frequently gather this initial data during the planning stage of their assault. It means no one is secure from IP hacking attempts.
How Do Cyber Criminals Find and Compromise Your IP Address?
Bad actors can compromise your IP address in the following ways:
- Thru spreading compromised attachments via social media, text messages, and emails, when these files open, a malicious script is installed on the target device, which begins gathering data, such as the IP address.
- Suppose you click a link in a scam or phishing email. There is usually a monitoring bug on these. The hacker obtains your IP the moment you open it.
- By rerouting your visitors to a website they manage, whether through discreet background windows or in an overt manner (e.g. you end up on a different web page than the one you needed to access)
- When an internet advertisement is smuggled into your search results or put on a false website, or when you follow a link to which hackers have inserted tracking details
- By infiltrating hosting servers and acquiring information on all of their traffic data
- By obtaining information about your device kind, browser version, operating system, and even screen resolution by infiltrating your browser with a harmful extension or add-on
- By breaching unsecured Wi-Fi networks and snooping on all outgoing and incoming traffic from all associated devices
- By hacking into businesses that gather personally identifiable information (PII), such as marketers who store enormous volumes of data
- Tricking you into installing remote access desktop (RDP) programs by claiming that your system needs to clean up after a malware infestation, for example
- By convincing you to install fraudulent privacy and security products that can completely track your internet and device activity
- By keeping an eye on data traffic through unsecured networks, including such unsecured Wi-Fi or phony hotspots that hackers themselves set up
- By accessing your internet accounts as nearly all internet services log your IP address (e.g. streaming apps, online banking, social media, etc.)
- By physically accessing your device and installing spy or malicious programs
- Through fraudulent or harmful mobile applications that track everything you do with your tablet or phone
- By acquiring lists of possible targets on the Dark Web that contain personally identifying information-rich records from broken, stolen, or leaked records.
Malicious hackers' primary source of income is sensitive information. However, malicious actors aim to utilize your private data as a weapon in their attacks, not only to gather it. So, how concerned should you be that your IP address is compromised?
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How Can Someone Hack Your IP Address?
The good news is that malicious hackers cannot simply reach your accounts, devices, or personal information using your IP address.
The bad news is that a compromised IP address is frequently the starting point for more significant breaches and online attacks, including those that target your steal your credentials, home Wi-Fi network, or even steal your identity.
Your IP address gives evil hackers access to:
1. Finding out if you'd be a valuable hacker target
Your online behavior reveals your IP address until you secure your data using a virtual private network (VPN). Your IP address is visible and recorded by every app and website you use for legal and security reasons.
It signifies that your online identification and IP address are tools that cybercriminals can utilize to determine whether you are a lucrative target. Cybercriminals will scan your Wi-Fi to check:
- What weaknesses does your device have?
- The devices that connect to it
- Which of your network's access points can they utilize to snoop on it?
2. Getting closer to your current location
Your IP address will not reveal your exact location. However, it can bring hackers close. Hackers can quickly discover your name and address when combined with other publicly accessible details from your social media profiles or internet footprint (such as check-ins or location data).
Your address is also meaningful. It is essential to identity theft since it provides hackers and con artists with reliable information they can use to pose as you or steal from you.
3. Gaining control of your home's devices
The same flaws that let hackers eavesdrop on you also let them completely control your home's devices.
Hackers use your IP address to determine the kind of Wi-Fi network you have at home. Then, they might "brute-force" break into your network and attack all devices with an internet connection (like your Home Assistant, smart TV, or even baby monitor).
These compromised devices join a giant botnet, a collection of "zombie" devices employed in attacks to mine bitcoin or assist criminals in eluding detection.
The best case scenario for compromised gadgets is slower internet and more significant energy costs. At worst, though, it might result in losing personal data like your Social Security number (SSN) and identity theft or fraud.
4. Installing harmful programs on your devices
Cybercriminals rely on operating systems and software flaws to execute their plans. Hackers can use your IP address to find out what applications and programs you are using, and they can then focus their attacks on recognized cybersecurity flaws.
For instance, hackers might find out that you have not patched your iPhone's iOS to the most recent version. They might then infect your device with malware and exploit it using any known weaknesses.
Viruses come in various shapes and sizes, from info stealers made to secretly track everything you do online to malware that encrypts your information and demands payment to decrypt it.
You might not be aware that nefarious hackers are eavesdropping on you if you don't have a strong antivirus program to recognize and prevent these dangers.
5. Framing you for criminal activity (including cybercrime)
Although malicious actors use stolen IP addresses to conceal their unlawful actions, officials utilize IP data for hunting down hackers, con artists, and other types of criminals.
For instance, hackers stole thousands of dollars from Canadian bank clients. The bank refused to restore the money, notifying the victims that "the IP address related to the behaviour resembled their own."
Cybercriminals might use IP spoofing to make it appear that their traffic originates from another IP. In this instance, they could get into the victims' bank accounts and transfer money without triggering any red lights with the bank's surveillance systems because they faked the victims' IP addresses and utilized the data they obtained from them.
6. Using your login information and controlling your accounts
When an evil hacker gains exposure to your local network, they may practically see everything you send that isn't encrypted.
Suppose you don't use two-factor authentication (2FA) to secure your accounts. In that case, they will have the ideal chance to obtain your credentials and access your online accounts (banking, social media, email, etc.).
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7. Designing specialized attacks to steal your identity
Fraudsters must discover as much as possible about you,
To carry out their frauds. For instance, you are less prone to fall for a phishing email that includes your name and appears to be from a service or company you already employ than one that is general (like Microsoft, LinkedIn, or PayPal).
Fraudsters might create plausible con games to deceive you using the data they gather from accessing your IP address.
8. Banning your IP address from websites you visit
Bad actors frequently blacklist the IP addresses of their targets, which is particularly successful with static IP addresses.
Hackers limit their victims' access to internet services, such as online gaming, forum browsing, and even internet banking, by adding their IP addresses to spam lists that several solutions employ to filter out harmful data.
9. Taking you offline with DDoS attacks
A frequent cyberattack is known as a Distributed Denial of Service targeting IP addresses (DDoS). In these cyberattacks, an IP floods with internet traffic utilizing botnets until it collapses under the strain.
For their DDoS attacks, hackers typically target higher-value targets, frequently frightening service providers by shutting down their operations until they pay a ransom. In other instances, they might enter the target network covertly and take sensitive data by taking advantage of the havoc a DDoS attack causes.
10. Obtaining a copyright lawsuit against you
Every internet traffic passing via your device includes your IP address, which serves as a unique identification. It includes any downloads or torrents of copyright-protected media like movies and music. Officials may pursue you if a fraudster unlawfully uses your IP address to obtain content.
15 Warning Signs Your IP Address is Hacked
- Annoying pop-ups. You frequently encounter intrusive pop-ups either seeking to sell you something or persuade you that your phone is infected and requires immediate repair.
- Rerouting of traffic. You get on a page you did not seek, or you have browser windows open behind the ones you're now using.
- Your browser has the virus. You discover strange extensions, toolbars, and add-ons in your browser.
- Collateral damage. People close to you allege that you sent them unusual DMs, emails, or requests. It indicates that nefarious cybercriminals have gathered your contacts and are currently focusing on them.
- Account takeovers. Your passwords are no longer valid, so you cannot log into your accounts. It is frequently a clue that your login information is compromised, and your account is compromised too.
- Effective phishing. You follow a link, online advertisement, or email that ends up being a phishing scam.
- Unreliable internet. Your home internet sputters or fluctuates.
- Public Wi-Fi networks. Without a VPN, you access unsecured public Wi-Fi.
- Rogue devices. When you check the admin portal of your Wi-Fi network, you discover strange devices linked to it.
- Pop-ups for ransomware. Your phone notifies you that your info is encrypted and that you must pay a ransom to unlock it.
- Viruses on your system. Your phone's efficiency is declining, it seems glitchy, or it gets hot.
- Data leakage warnings. A network operator sends you an email informing you that there has been a compromise and your info is exposed.
- Remote access. Your cursor can move independently without your intervention. Even when you are not using the camera on your phone, it is still on. You learn from a buddy with security or IT expertise that the application you downloaded gave hackers access to your system.
- You are getting served. You get a summons demanding that you appear as the possible defendant in court.
- The cops have contacted you. Officials who question you may try to arrest you when they visit your home.
Do not disregard any signs of strange activities in your online life. These symptoms can be unimportant or might prove to be identifiers of identity theft.
Is IP Address Hacking An Actual Threat?
All cyberattacks on IP addresses have one thing in common: they showcase the extent to which they can expose you. Your IP address does not grant the nefarious attacker access to your online accounts or machines but allows them to attack you.
Threat actors prioritize systematic, prevalent data gathering as part of their core operations. There is no such thing as a small or unimportant target. Moreover, to maximize their profit potential, they use attacks that instantly seek out the most vulnerable victims, such as those:
- People who don't install antivirus or anti-malware software.
- People who reuse insecure passwords.
- With several connected devices that are not updated and have hackable flaws.
Instead of wasting resources and time on properly secure victims, attackers will proceed to the following targets. You can limit your risk by becoming a too expensive "investment" for them.
How to Prevent IP Hacking?
Your IP address is critical to your ability to connect to the internet. This means that many factors are beyond your control regarding securing your intellectual property, particularly if you lack security or technical skills. However, there are steps you can take to protect your IP from fraudulent attacks:
- Understand your exposure to cyberattacks and risks.
- Regularly check your accounts for signs they are compromised.
- Use a VPN to protect your IP address.
- Continually update the software as soon as you receive an update.
- Maximize your router protection by deactivating the remote administration feature and enabling encryption for WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2).
- Install antivirus and anti-malware software on all your devices.
- Use a password manager to secure all your passwords.
- Enhance your browser's privacy and security.
- Set up alerts for ID thefts and data leaks.
- Reduce your digital footprints to secure yourself.
- Get insurance to cope with the damage in case of an attack.
- Stay aware and updated on the latest cyber threats, attacks, and statistics.
IP address hacking may appear tiny, but it can have far-reaching and long-term repercussions. While your IP address is only one part of the equation, every bit of your private data is crucial and can lead to more significant issues in the future.