As our personal lives and digital lives continue to merge, it is important to know how to hide your IP and location. Our lives on social media have people sharing more and more about themselves, and it is not always safe to do so! People can track you down in the real world when all of your information is out there. That is a scary prospect when we think about people who might want to ruin your professional or personal lives. What can we do about this? A great start is a VPN.
One of the ways that you get tracked online is by your IP address. Are you exposed right now? A good way to check is by using a tool from NordVPN. This is a free tool that you can use to see if people can track you. Pretty handy!
Suppose you want to see how your defenses are, head on over to NordVPN to see your original IP address and your location. On this page, do you see your real IP displayed? That means your defenses are down, and you are able to be attacked. Not a good position to be in. If you are having trouble finding your IP, let us take a second to explain how that works.
IP Address – A unique identifier for your computer that allows you to connect to other people.
When you first get on the web, everybody needs a unique identifier. Can you imagine how confusing it would be if two people had the same address? You would never be able to find the house for anybody or a business. This is why every IP address must be unique. Devices will use the IP to talk to each other and send your information.
A good example of an IP address will be 126.96.36.199 if we are going to make one up. You can see how it is formatted in a specific way, just like a phone number. Look online for the NordVPN website and see if you can find the IP address that you have been assigned. If this is your real address, you are at risk!
The Dangers of an Exposed IP
Some may contest that it should not matter if you can see their IP address. They have nothing to hide. However, that is the wrong attitude to take and can get you trouble. We don’t broadcast our actual address all over the Internet because it can lead to trouble. Similarly, it is better to keep your IP hidden.
First, once a hacker has your actual IP, they can start to launch attacks against you. This can be done through port scanning. Which services are you running? Which ports are listening? Where are you vulnerable? The hacker doesn’t even need to do this on their own. A bot may be scanning large chunks all at once and then giving the information back to the hacker.
Next, when they have your ports listed, they will begin to probe. How do the ports respond when they issue commands? Will they respond to UDP or User Defined Packets? Are your ports going to react when they are pinged with TCP/IP? The hacker is building a profile. What Operating System you are using and which programs you are also using. This is how they plan their attack.
Last, using exploits or perhaps social engineering, the hacker may send you links that contain malware. If they know you like to shop with Amazon, the email may seem like it is coming from Amazon! This fools many people and will get you in big trouble if you click the link that they sent over!
The Problem with Cookies
When you get started with a service like NordVPN, it won’t just protect your IP address. It will also help with cookies. We are not talking about the delicious kind with flavors like chocolate or mint. Cookies are made when you go to a website, and they are designed to track you. Most of the time, it is helpful. Pages can load on your screen faster. Your preferences can be remembered for further visits.
If we are looking for privacy, all of this can become an issue. At times, cookies will store passwords and credentials that let you into websites and allow you past restricted areas. These cookies can be hijacked by hackers and used to log into sites they should not have access to!
Moreover, cookies are also going to make it hard to cover your tracks. How can you have privacy when cookies show where you have been and which sites you visit? That is an issue! Your VPN can be affected and display your real location so that people may show up to your home or send you threatening letters. What can we do about this?
Types of Tracking Cookies
Before we can think about getting rid of our cookie problem, we should first acknowledge that NordVPN has done an excellent job of laying out similar information. If you go on their website, they will show you exactly how to keep yourself safe and protected from tracking cookies and programs trying to track your movements.
It is pretty awesome to think that NordVPN has given us so many free resources so that you can become more knowledgeable about privacy. On top of all of this, they also provide a cost-effective solution to tracking their VPN service. Check it out and see if it helps you with staying anonymous. On to the different types of cookies, we should be aware of.
As the name implies, this is not permanent. It is just a temporary cookie that will hang around for as long as your session lasts. When you leave the website, your session is terminated. Once you are no longer browsing the site, the cookie gets deleted as you exit the browser. These are not as much of a concern since they are not hurting our privacy.
This type of cookie is much more dangerous. These are built to last and be able to tag you and identify your movements each time you visit a site. Say you are using a popular online shopping platform. A good example is Amazon. You add a few items to your virtual cart, such as cooking utensils. When you leave the site and then come back a few days later, the cooking utensils are still in the cart. This is because of persistent cookies. The site remembers you, and it can also broadcast to others that you shop with Amazon.
A Balancing Act
Keep in mind, when you start to delete cookies, it will have consequences. It will take longer to load up sites. Many of your credentials will no longer be saved. Your settings will not be remembered in terms of the language or theme that you use for a site. If you had items in your shopping cart, they might be gone.
When you are interested in how to hide your IP, you have to give up convenience. In the end, though, you can hide your location. When you learn how to hide your IP, you will be kept safe if hackers breach a site. If a site has cookies on you that it is saving and gets hacked, it will be a breach for you.
How to Clear Cookies
When you use a VPN like NordVPN, make sure you are clearing your cookies. This can be done by accessing the settings and then head over to privacy and security. Here, you should have options to disable cookies that preload sites for you permanently. This is a good idea if you are using a VPN. Sites can still see your home country through the VPN if you are not doing regular cleaning. Flush your cookies and the cache on a regular basis, or you might find you are paying for a VPN that is worthless. We need to hide our IP and our location.
Hiding Your IP and Location
As lines continue to blur between our digital and real life, it is important to take security on the net seriously. You don’t leave your car unlocked. People would never think of leaving their front door wide open. In the same way, you can’t leave the door to your computer wide open.
Protect your digital life using VPN tools to hide your IP and location. Some VPN providers are even free and give you an allotment of data that you can use throughout the month. I have used a free VPN service in the past to download and upload and found that the proxy server in Canada was very fast. This included great speeds for upload and download.
Try out one of these services today if you have any apprehension. You will find it very easy to tell when the service is on, how to connect, and the great speeds. Once you get used to the technology, you may want to upgrade to a paid service. NordVPN is great for that, and the cost is low, considering we are talking about your family and home’s safety. A good choice if you are in the market and want to hide your IP and location.