Fri 3 Feb, 2006 09:01 am
Hi, I've heard that people can hack into your computer by knowing your IP address... and I was wondering if there was a way to change it so hackers can't find it, or if there's a program that'll do it for me... thanks
Just knowing an IP address isn't enough. The computer has to be available to be hacked in some way. The biggest threat is not people that know your IP address but attacks that randomly search out IP addresses to attack.
If you use dial up your IP address changes each time you connect so no one could know it before hand. Someone would have to get lucky to find you when you are online.
If you have an always on connection then you need a firewall. Your IP address is set by your internet provider. You can't change it. A firewall prevents outside connections to your computer. Most computer experts suggest a hardware firewall. I have a router with a built in firewall on mine. It allows me to block all ports so no one can get through the firewall to my computer. You can pick up a decent router with a firewall for about $50-$100. They are fairly easy to set up and have all the ports blocked by default. If they can't contact your computer through an open port they can't take control of it. XP has a built in software firewall that you can use too.
Even with an anonymous IP address, I see about 3-4 attacks a week. Usually someone trying to find a known security problem or using random log in names. That brings up the next point. Keep your OS up to date with the latest patches. Older versions of windows had connection points turned on. New versions have them turned off. If you log in to your computer from outside your house than others can too. Make your passwords hard to guess and ask for help in how to make it more secure.
The biggest security threat is not outside hackers trying to get in but people letting them in by visiting the wrong websites or opening suspicious email attachments. Virus software is a must if you visit any websites other than a couple of well known companies. That means - Virus software is a must.
I agree with everything that parados said.
I would like to add a couple of things.
You should understand what your security needs are.
For most people, a software based firewall/virus checker is sufficient. I would trust any of the standards-- Norton, McAfeee etc. This will make it unlikely that people will be able to install programs on your computer or delete data.
If you have specific security needs-- i.e. you are running a web server; deal with sensitive personal information; or you are doing something that you don't want traced-- you may need more.
In these cases, you should know what the specific risks are and make a plan for your situation.
In my opinion, the spate of programs promising to increase your security by "hiding" your IP address are nothing more than comtemptible ploys to separate worried computer users from their money.
Most of those programs promising to hide your IP address are for web surfing anonymously. People can trace you by knowing your IP address. That is different from hacking into your computer.
Anytime you visit a site that site should be able to figure out your IP address because it has to know your IP address to send the information to you. Once an IP address is known a reverse IP directory can be used to see who the address is owned by. In most cases it will list your internet provider but your internet provider does log your IP just in case the police come calling for someone doing something illegal.
There are ways to get around websites knowing your IP address by using a proxy server. In most cases that won't be necessary. If you want to be anonymous in web surfing do a search for anonymous proxy servers. There are a lot of free ones out there. Using a proxy server won't necessarily protect your identity if you are planning to do crimes but will keep you safe from casual inquiries.
Anonymous surfing doesn't really help you if you download a trojan horse of some kind. The virus will let the hacker know where your computer is.