3 Ways People Can Find Your IP (But Not With CTemplar)
Your data is regularly bought and sold by online data companies, usually without either your knowledge or consent. One of the most common pieces of data these companies buy and sell is your IP, or internet protocol address. Your IP can reveal a lot of information about you and because of that, this article will explain how to stop companies from selling your personal information.
What is IP and How Can People Spy on Yours?
All devices connected to the Internet use the Internet Protocol to communicate. An IP address is a 32-bit (IPv4) or a 128-bit (IPv6) numerical label that each device on the network gets assigned.
Think of the network as a street, your device as a house in that street and the IP address as the address of that house. Let’s say a postman needs to deliver mail to one of those houses. Without knowing the address, they’d have a hard time doing that.
The same is true for IP addresses. The web server won’t know what website you want to visit without knowing its IP address (the machine doesn’t “know” what “Facebook” means).
However, it’s actually easier to find someone’s IP address than their regular address.
Here are the three most common ways someone can find your IP:
- From the Email Header
An email is like a letter, just without the paper envelope. When sending a letter to someone, you typically write the return address (that’s your address) in the top left corner. With email, you don’t have to write your IP address, the email does it for you and leaves your address embedded in the header for everyone to see.
It’s really easy. All you need to do is click on the three dots (more) next to the “reply” arrow, which will open a new small window with several options. Click on “show original”.
Now all you need to do is “CTRL+F” the following line: “Received: from” and in it, you’ll find the IP address of the sender.
CTemplar does not do that. Instead, we strip your IP address from all our logs and metadata and use our own IP address for emails. Even we don’t know your IP.
- Via Server Logs
With each visit to a website on the Internet, you helpfully leave your IP address. If the website administrators want to, they can look at their server logs and see by IP address if you’re a new or returning visitor and where you are located.
- With the Ping
This method works more for websites than individuals but it’s also worth mentioning. It involves using the ping to find the IP address of a website. You can do this via Command Prompt on Windows or Terminal on Mac and typing “ping website” (replace “website with the actual website address you want to look at, such as “www.twitter.com”). The computer should then display the IP address you’re looking for.
These are just the most common ways someone can find your IP, but there are many more, like:
- Getting a court order
- From blog comments
- From social media sites (you can’t find an IP of another user, but social media site admins will see your IP)
- From messaging apps (again, the other person on let’s say Viber, won’t be able to see your IP, but Viber will if you click on a link in the message)
- On Internet forums
- From an unsecured WiFi network
How to Avoid Apps From Tracking Your IP
Mostly, it’s not individuals that you need to worry about spying on your IP, or even finding it. It’s the apps and websites you use every day.
We’ve seen how social media sites like Facebook, or messaging apps like Viber can (and do) track your IP. Indeed there was a whole incident in 2018, with Facebook leaking user data to Cambridge Analytica.
But if you think that’s the only case of a big company selling (or even just giving away) your data to others, you are very wrong. This happens all the time and while they often play on technicalities, they are happily harvesting your data and getting rich (even more so) on it.
So how to avoid apps from tracking your IP address location?
IP geolocation services have become very popular in recent times, especially with domain owners who want to know where their visitors are coming from.
Typically, IP geolocation services, like this one can reveal your:
- Location details (region, country, state, city, latitude, longitude, ZIP number, time zone…)
- What ISP you are using
- Your AS (Autonomous System) details
- What kind of network you are on (cable, DSL)
- Type of connection you are using (modem, broadband, mobile)
- GeoName ID
- Domain names connected to that IP address
- And more
While some apps do need to know your location to function properly, for most this isn’t the case and the only reason they do so is so they can sell it to third parties.
One way to hide your real IP is to use a VPN or proxy service. A Virtual Private Network will route your Internet traffic through its own server (of your choosing usually), which means that a website you are visiting will see that server’s IP address instead of yours.
There are a few problems with using VPNs.
One is that it can slow down your Internet traffic. The proximity of the server plays a big role in the Internet speed and if it bounces to a server in another region, that can slow it down.
Another problem is that some websites will see that you are using a VPN or proxy and will ban you from using it. There are even online services like this Privacy Detection API by IPinfo.io that will tell you if an IP address is masked behind a VPN, proxy or Tor.
Take a look at how you can use CTemplar over Tor network to connect to our .onion site.
One of the main arguments companies use to defend tracking your IP is that they are “public” data, rather than personal. The EU GDPR states that a natural person can be identified based on their name, geographical location data, genetic material and online identifiers and it includes IP address among the latter.
Most email providers record and store your personal data, including your IP address. CTemplar does not, allowing you to use it completely anonymously. If you’re done with apps and services that track your personal data and sell it without your permission or knowledge, sign up for CTemplar anonymous email today.