Are you concerned about someone being able to track you to your doorstep or stalk you using your IP address? Though the potential for this to happen is unlikely for the majority of users, closing the door on this potential security risk is one of many ways to provide improved internet safety for you and your family. We can show you what steps you can take to change your IP address, but before we do, we need to provide you with a better understanding of what an IP address is, the difference between the two main types and explain IP address lease time.
What is an IP address?
Internet protocol (IP) and is part of the internet protocol suite that includes a series of layered protocols for allowing your computer to communicate with other computers in a local network or the internet as a whole. The internet protocol suite is labeled TCP/IP and each part performs a specific task in aiding network communication.
• Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). TCP breaks down outgoing files into packages on the originating computer and reassembles those packages as they are received by another.
• Internet Protocol is sort of like a mail or parcel carrier. It relays the packages created by TCP from one computer to another until it arrives at the IP address of the receiving computer.
Delivering a digital package works in the same way as delivering a physical package in the physical world. It is necessary for the package carrier to refer to an address for the package to be received by the person or computer it is intended to be received. The IP address of your computer is an identifying digital code that allows the network to find it. When packages arrive in your computer TCP reassembles the packages so that they will make sense to the receiver. Without both of these protocols, your computer is unable to communicate with other computers in a network or over the internet.
Static vs. Dynamic IP Address
Since your IP address is an identifiable digital code that is directly linked to your computer or device, it is a potential means of locating the device, though not revealing the actual identity of the device user. Security issues can arise depending upon the type of IP address is assigned to your device. Consequently, knowing what type of IP address you have makes a difference when discussing your risks. Here are the two types of IP addresses:
Static IP Address
The defining feature of a static IP address is that it cannot be changed without contacting your internet service provider (ISP). Though it is possible, static IP addresses are not typically assigned to you unless you are provided with a higher level service, such as a professional or business account or if you specifically as to be provided with one. It tends to be an advantage for FTP, mail and web servers as well as hosting and geo-location services. However, a static IP address makes it more difficult to mask your location.
Dynamic IP Address
In contrast to a static one, a dynamic IP address is a temporary address that is assigned to a computer or device automatically by a DHCP (dynamic host configuration protocol) server. The implementation of dynamic IP addresses is done through ISPs and networks that have a large number of end-nodes or connecting clients. Ideally, a new dynamic IP address is assigned to a computer every time it connects and reconnects to the internet. The advantage to a dynamic IP address is that it makes it harder for the device to be tracked for any extended period of time. The disadvantage to a dynamic IP address is that geo-location and hosting services become limited.
What is meant by IP address lease time?
An important factor in changing your IP address, whether static or dynamic is IP address lease time. This is the amount of time your ISP assigns a specific IP address to your device. Some can be used for a few hours, some for a few days and, in the case of static IP addresses, for a year or longer. Obviously, the length of lease time will determine the length of time an entity would have to track your device and the necessity of changing your IP address.
How to Change Your IP Address
Changing your IP address is not particularly difficult. In most cases, those with a static IP address will need to contact their ISP in order to be assigned a new IP address. For the sake of simplicity, how you change your IP address depends on how you access the internet.
Dial Up Modem
If you connect to the internet via dial-up modem, your ISP will be a dynamic one and will be different every time you connect to the internet. To change your IP address with a dial-up modem, all you have to do is disconnect, wait for a few minutes and reconnect.
Changing your IP address if you connect to the internet using broadband service is a little bit more complicated. Broadband service providers tend to assign a static IP address to your computer or home network. What typically happens with broadband service is that people set up a modem or router, which is the device that has the IP address attached to it and all of the devices that connect through it will be connected through it. Here are the steps for changing an IP address on a broadband network:
1. Disconnect the power to your modem and allow it to sit a few minutes before reconnecting.
2. If the first step did not change your IP address, then it could be saved in your router and you will have to release and renew your IP address in the router. How you do it will vary from one router to the next, so you will need to read the instructions for your router.
3. The next step to try if neither of the first two work is to disconnect your modem and/or router and leave them disconnected overnight or for as long as possible (perhaps over the weekend).
4. Of none of these methods work, you will have to contact your ISP and request that a new IP address be assigned to you.
Another way to change the IP address of your computer is through changing your local area network (LAN) settings. There are some drawbacks to doing this because it can cause connection issues with your broadband network. In addition, if you have a network router, then it is likely that your router could be assigning dynamic IP addresses and setting up a static IP address on a specific device can cause connection issues.
Maintain Safe Browsing Practices
Though your IP address is a potential doorway for a breach of security, the potential risks of someone tracking you to your doorstep using your IP address alone are minimal. Tracking someone by their IP address along with personal information that is shared in social media profiles and other sites is where the greater threat arises. Maintaining safe browsing practices will assist in keeping you and your family secure.
Your IP address is a potential doorway through which you could be tracked. To ensure greater security for your family when browsing online, it is a good practice to change your IP address periodically, if it isn’t already done through your dial-up modem or your ISP. Knowing how the type of IP address you have and how you connect to the internet will help determine how to change your IP address.