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3 Different Ways Someone Can Track Your IP Address

track ip address
You must have seen advertisements and clickbait articles like "The 5 Secrets to Wealth Near You" that reference your current location. It might be New York, London, or in the middle of nowhere, they always know where you are. How is that? 
Advertisers can do this by tracking your IP address. They're not the only ones who have access to it. Hackers, governments, internet service providers (ISPs), and just about anybody can learn your IP address. It puts your privacy and security at risk. 
Here are the three different ways someone can track your IP address and what you can do to stop them. 

What is an IP Address? 

An IP address is a unique set of numbers that identifies every device connected to the internet. It's the primary way that computers, servers, and everything else online communicates and exchanges data with each other. 
IP addresses reveal a lot of information about users, including: 
  • Approximate location 
  • Internet service provider
But that's not all. It's easy enough for cybercriminals and ISPs to piece together your IP address and track your internet activity. 

IP Tracking Method 1: Standard Connection

All websites identify your IP address when you connect to them. They refer to it as a handshake. The process works through JavaScript code on the site. This code is essential for website analytics, which helps site owners understand how much traffic they get each month. 
It is 100% legal and normal. Site owners have to maintain compliance and not do anything illegal with this information. But you never know who may operate a site or if hackers have taken over it. 

IP Tracking Method 2: Use Command Prompt

This method is a little more technical but not difficult at all. Using a Windows device, you can open the command prompt. Then, on the DOS Screen, type "ping website address" and hit enter. The IP address will appear below. 
For example, you could find Google by inputting "ping www.google.com:" 
Pinging www.google.com [216.58.194.68] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 216.58.194.68: bytes=32 time=63ms TTL=57
People have used a similar technique to find the IP address of people on Facebook too. In this case, they used the "NetStat" command. 
  1. Invite the person to chat 
  2. Open command prompt 
  3. Once a chat has begun, enter the command "netstat —an" and you can see the IP address of all established connections.  
Of course, it's not that easy to discover someone's IP address from Facebook anymore. The platform had enough privacy scandals as it is. But many sites still have weak security and can be exposing your IP address (and more). 

IP Tracking Method 3. Check the Email Header 

You can also find someone's IP address in the email header. Most clients like Gmail clip this out of standard view to show you the sender's name and the message. 
Click on the reply button and scroll down to "show original." A new window pops up with the IP address of the sender located below the subject line. 

How to Protect Your IP Address

These three techniques are only the beginning. There are other ways to discover IP addresses, including dedicated IP address lookup tools. As wonderful as the internet is, it can be a scary place. You never know who could use an IP address against you and for what purposes. 
Advertising is bad enough, but what if a hacker finds a way to track your online browsing by tracing your IP address. For your privacy and security, you need to conceal your IP address. 
The easiest and most secure way to do it is by using a VPN. What is a VPN? A VPN or virtual private network (https://nordvpn.com/what-is-a-vpn/) anonymizes your IP address. It connects your device to a secure third-party server, which then connects to your target web destination. The website will see the server's IP address instead of yours.
At the same time, a VPN uses advanced encryption to make sure nobody can track what you do online. If someone does manage to intercept your data, it's available only in the unreadable form. 
VPNs are super easy to use too. You don't have to have any technical expertise to take advantage of their fantastic security benefits. After you download one, leave it enabled anytime you connect to the internet. Then you can rest assured knowing your data is safe.
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