Identity theft is always a threat, especially for people who maintain an active presence online. Internet protocol spoofing is a common way for malicious users to gain credibility quickly when hacking into computer systems.

Since every computer has a unique identifier—an “Internet Protocol” (IP) address—an attacker could fool a network into sending data to the wrong source by “spoofing” one. IP spoofing can be used to hack others, impersonate people and companies, and hide a hacker’s tracks to make it difficult to find them once they’re done. Being hacked is a dangerous thing, so you need to always be on the lookout for it!

IP spoofing modifies some of the data in the source IP header to make it appear legitimate. As a result, even the most stringent and secure networks can be breached. Therefore, web developers are constantly looking for innovative ways to secure data going across the internet.

This is why we’ll address IP Spoofing, why it’s dangerous, the common types of attacks that utilize it, and how to prevent it from happening to you.

What Is IP Spoofing?

IP spoofing is a technique used to gain unauthorized access to a computer system or network by falsifying the IP address. The term IP spoofing is derived from the words Internet Protocol, which is an addressing scheme that assigns an IP address for every device connected to the internet.

There are a few different types of attacks one can perform through this method, such as:

  • ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) Spoofing: An attacker sends out false ARP messages on the local area network and tricks other devices into believing that they are on a different network. This can result in data packets being sent through unsecured channels instead of secured ones and could also result in data being intercepted.
  • Injection Attacks: Injection attacks are a type of cyber-attack that use malicious code to inject hostile commands into a web application, which is then executed by the web server. This can happen when an attacker inserts SQL or other commands into data entry fields on a website, for example. The injection attack can be used to access sensitive data or cause damage to the website.
  • Masking Botnets: A botnet is a network of computers all controlled by a single source. Each deploys a command, called a bot, which strives to faithfully imitate a normal user, and carry out malicious threats as that user would. With IP spoofing, attackers can mask botnets, and they would be inconceivable without this ability.  In normal conditions, hackers gain access through hacking, usually into a web server. The use of botnets enables them high-powered spam assaults, DDoS attacks, ad fraud, and ransomware attacks. Botnets are flexible because they can be used to carry out targeted skirmishes against malicious users and their websites.

To get extra technical, IP spoofing takes the information and changes a few identifiable records at a network level. This makes spoofing almost undetectable.

Denial-of-service attacks, for example, are usually accomplished by flooding the target with superfluous requests in an attempt to overload systems and prevent some or all legitimate requests from being fulfilled. 

The flood of traffic may be accompanied by the repeated sending of malicious code, such as computer viruses or Trojan horses, that consume the resources of the host system. This utilizes IP Spoofing by creating multiple IP Addresses that can’t be tracked, making it almost impossible to stop without experience.

Why are you a Target?

Taking all moral and ethical considerations aside, another’s identity has immense value, and it is, therefore, seen as an asset. Anyone with ill intentions would be more than glad to use someone’s identity in order to get what they want.

Spoofing IP addresses is an interesting endeavor for malicious users. If you focus on the opportunity to gain stolen keys, websites, email accounts, and domain names, spoofing IP addresses in this way does not yield much if any value, as the IP itself isn’t exactly valuable, but what can be done with it can have immense payoff by gaining trust and leading people to sharing personal information through the spoofed IP.

Among the most recent attacks: 20,000 UK homes that had Wi-Fi access reported that they had detected an IP spoofing bot attempting to take over. 

These bots can allow the malicious user access to many things if they only manage to get into one device, as the process snowballs further and further until it gets out of control, making it extremely dangerous.

Preventing IP Spoofing

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to completely prevent IP spoofing. However, there are several steps you may take to prevent faked IP packets from accessing a network. Because IP spoofing has numerous non-malicious applications, there is little you can do to prevent others from employing it. Cyber security can be tricky, but a secure and encrypted internet connection is your best bet against all kinds of hacking ploys.

To help prevent IP spoofing, you should use a VPN to hide your IP address. Then, utilize a firewall to monitor your network for unusual behavior, which employs a packet filter that inspects IP packet headers. Only visit secure sites that use HTTPS protocol, and make sure to use strong passwords everywhere possible.

Set up a firewall to assist safeguard your network by filtering traffic with faked IP addresses, verifying that traffic, and prohibiting unwanted outsiders from accessing it. This will help authenticate IP addresses. Use an antivirus software. Antivirus software will help you if someone does manage to spoof your traffic. Incoming data packets scanned by a strong antivirus program will easily discover if they contain known hazardous code. This isn’t a complete defense, but it’s good to have in any case!

In conclusion, your IP address, like every other computer in use today, is unique to you. This address is used for a variety of functions, including authentication, encryption, and others. As a result, practically any IP address becomes a target for would-be hackers or criminals, so make sure you update your passwords and virus protection tools and stay up to date to avoid bad situations in the future.