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How you got an IP address and why you may want to hide it

Sandra Proske

07.10.19 3 min. read

You have an IP address, whether you know it or not. Check your IP and its location here using F-Secure’s new IP Checker.

You may be wondering who would want to know it, what it is, and how can I hide it, please?

Good questions. Let’s get started.

A brief history of the IP address

Once upon a time, there was no internet.

That changed on October 29, 1969. A student programmer sent the first message over the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET).

That message read “lo.” It was supposed to be “login” but only “l” and “o” were typed in before the system crashed. This blundered message was kind of a perfect launch moment for the imperfect technology would become the internet.

Over the next decade, the ARPANET spread from relying on four Interface Message Processors (IMP) in the western United States to more than two hundred all over the world by 1982. By this point, the pace of expansion was intense, with a new IMP being added about every 20 days.

The worldwide usage revealed the technology’s limitations. Soon the ARPANET made the far more scalable Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) its standard. Thus the IP address and the beginning of the internet as we know it was born.

What your IP address means

“The Internet protocol suite provides end-to-end data communication specifying how data should be packetized, addressed, transmitted, routed, and received,” Wikipedia explains. It can also be used to help identify you.

So how did you end up with your IP address?

It almost always shows where your device’s internet connection began. It is most likely assigned to you by your internet provider. If you are connecting to someone else’s network, say on public WiFi, say, you’ll appear to be browsing the web with that network’s IP address.The point of the address is to provide a unique identifier to each individual connection to the internet. This is more of an aspiration than a realized goal, given the various ways people connect online.

Who can see this address?

Every service and web page you connect to sees your IP address and can log it, much like our IP Checker.

And, no, your browser’s incognito mode can’t do anything to protect you from being identified by your IP address. The site you are connecting to will still see the address. And this can be used to identify you and where you are, often with surprising accuracy.

If you’re connected through your internet service provider, they’ll know which IP it gave you. Law enforcement can also check the owner of the IP, if they have sufficient grounds to suspect illegal behavior based on local legislation.

Your IP address could reveal your location. Once you have given your info by signing in to a service, connecting your social profile, or filling in an online form, your IP address and all that info can be connected.

Now you need to trust that they won’t abuse that information, or share it.

What can I do about this?

You can go anonymous.

You now know incognito mode won’t do this for you. But a VPN, like our award-winning FREEDOME VPN, will.

With FREEDOME, which is part of F-Secure TOTAL, your actual IP address is hidden. Sites and services see only that the traffic is coming from VPN’s address, which is shared with thousands of other anonymous people – rendering you anonymous. This also enables you to view content that may be blocked by location, while providing an extra layer of privacy.

Yes, if you’re using FREEDOME VPN our IP Checker won’t reveal your IP address or location because it’s purposely obfuscated. Your IP is also being obscured from the sites and services that normally use that information to track you. And that’s what matters.

Sandra Proske

07.10.19 3 min. read

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