Do you know if someone gets their hands over your personal IP address, they can track your online behavior, steal your private data, and even commit serious cybercrimes under your identity? Horrifying right? If you are an internet user, read below to find out what IP spoofing is and how you can save yourself from becoming a victim of it.

Here’s what IP spoofing is and how it works

IP spoofing is basically a change or modification of your original IP address to a fake one. This way, the traffic coming or going from that particular source seems authentic. This can be done on both the sender and the receiver’s end. 

How does it work?

Everything on the internet works in the form of packets. The traffic that comes to your network from the websites, or goes from your device’s server to other servers is being transferred as packets. These packets are divided and then transferred to the desired destination where they are assembled to become the data. 

These packets have a tag on them to give them a direction. These tags contain the IP addresses of the sender and the receiver. This data is transferred over the general TCP/IP Protocol.

But there’s a catch!

While it looks simple, it isn’t. To complete the data transaction, the sender and receiver have to go through a three-step process:

 The source needs to use an SYN message to establish a connection with the receiver and synchronize the sequence numbers within them. 

The receiver replies with an ACK message to acknowledge that the request has been received.

The source will then send a combined SYN-ACK message to establish the connection.

How the hacker manipulates the process?

Most hackers manipulate before the third step (SYN-ACK message confirmation) to IP spoof the connection. They use a spoofed IP and server to send the SYN-ACK message and the receiver thinks that the request has come from an authentic source, thus risking the whole system. The receiver keeps thinking they are communicating with a trusted source, which however is not the case.

What dangers can IP spoofing expose you to?

While IP spoofing can expose you to many dangers, here are some of the common ones:

Bypassing Security Firewalls

Small to large companies often use firewalls to secure their network. These firewalls operate with a blacklist that restricts any stranger IP address to access the network. However, if a hacker IP spoofs the network, it can conveniently get access to your network as the security system will not identify the IP address as a restricted one.

DDoS Attacks

You may have visited a website at some point, that says that the servers are down due to too many processes or requests. This is what a DDoS attack is, and you may also be a part of it without you even knowing it. How? By the IP spoofing scam, a hacker can be using your IP address to send multiple requests to these websites to bring it down. You’ll never know it unless there is a complaint filed against your IP address which then leads backs to you.

Man-in-the-middle attack

This attack usually happens around cafes, restaurants or malls. Mainly, any populated area with an open Wifi hotspot. Once you connect to any such internet, the hacker tries to fool you by IP spoofing and pretending it is the desired website you wanted to visit. The same goes for the website you actually wanted to visit. They think you are visiting it whereas in actual, the hacker is behind it.

But wait, it isn’t illegal

IP spoofing isn’t illegal. Not until you misuse it or cause any kind of damage through it. For example, you may use a proxy or VPN every day to protect your IP. This is for protection and therefore, as long as you don’t intend to use it for some crime, you are safe.