Restrict Your Access to Certain Services
“If someone has my IP address what can they do to my online access?”
Well, content providers can use your IP address to target you with geo-blocks – content restrictions that essentially prevent you from accessing a web page or the content on a website if you’re from a blacklisted geographical region.
Like we already mentioned, your IP address leaks your geo-location, and any website you send connection requests to or visit will see and log your IP address.
That’s how services like Netflix or Hulu keep people from accessing US content from other countries, for example.
Spam You With “Personalized” Ads
Ever looked up an article reviewing the best vacuum cleaners, read it and closed it, only to later see tons of vacuum cleaner ads on your social media feed?
The vacuum cleaner is just an example – really, anything goes with that statement.
Well, that creepy “coincidence” is actually how advertisers track you on the web, and spam you with ads you “might” be interested in.
Advertisers normally use tracking pixels, but they also make use of your IP address too. With it, they can deliver location-based ads that are in your native language.
Some people might find that useful, but for most of us it feels like an invasion of our privacy.
Find Limited Personal Info About You
Don’t think someone could find your name, physical address, and phone number by just knowing your IP address.
At most, they’d be able to pinpoint your location to a specific area – a country, city, or even a neighborhood.
Still, if the cybercriminal is skilled enough, they could find out who your ISP is from your IP address, and use phishing and vishing attacks against them to find out your personal details. Stuff like that has happened before, so it’s no speculation.
Cyberstalkers who are persistent enough could also try using your IP address to track your online actions, and find more personal information about you. Though, again, that would only work if they manage to trick your ISP into revealing sensitive data, or hack them to get it.
DoS/DDoS Your Network
If a cybercriminal knows your IP address, they can DDoS/DoS you – essentially flood your network with unwanted traffic to the point where your web connection goes down.
This tends to happen a lot in online gaming – with upset players DoS/DDoS-ing other players.
Sue You for Copyright Infringement
Yep, stuff like that can happen if you live in a country where the law is very tough on torrenting – like the US, for instance.
Torrent monitoring and copyright agencies might keep an eye on torrent traffic, and single out your IP address. If they do that, they can find out who your ISP is, and get in touch with them to ask them to hande over your contact details and personal information.
Then, depending on how serious your “torrenting crime” is, they might just threaten you with DMCA notices, or they could sue you directly.
Prevent You from Playing Online Games
This just applies to online games. Basically, an admin who’s a sore loser might ban you from the match.
Now, when they ban you, they’re actually banning your IP address. Since the gaming server blacklists it, you can’t reconnect to it anymore until someone lifts the ban.