Your IP Address is an unique series of numbers or characters that is assigned to your computer by your Internet Service Provider. For most consumers, the IP Address that is assigned to your computer, changes each time that you log onto the Internet. Because the Internet is so large, and there are so many computers logged onto the Internet at one time, the IP Address becomes very important.
Your IP Address contains a fair bit of information that Internet components, such as webpages, need in order to work properly. The unique set of numbers that make up your IP Address is primarily used for two activities. First, it is used to identify your computer, and secondly it is used, by webpages, to keep track of all of the requests that you make when surfing the Internet. A good way to think about this is to try to imagine how many computers connect to one website at the same time. The website needs a way to figure out which computer asked for what. So when you click on a picture, the website uses your IP Address to keep track of that request to see that picture and then sends the picture to your computer. If the website did not keep track of your Internet requests, it would not know where to send the picture that you asked to see. Multiply that by 1000 computers, and you begin to see why an IP Address is so important.
Your IP Address is also a point of vulnerability. It can be used by Hackers to steal your personal data as it is transmitted over the Internet. Another way to think of your IP Address is as a leash like the ones used to walk a dog. The end that connects to your dog’s collar is the Internet, and the end that is held in your hand is your computer. This makes your IP Address a directly line to your computer and internet hackers and thieves can sometimes use your IP Address as a direct line to your computer, your personal data, and even as a means of transmitting malware, virus, and spyware to your computer. While this revelation may be somewhat frightening, there are ways to protect your computer and your personal data. For information about protecting your computer against Internet Attacks.