Contrary to what is believed, our internet activities are being tracked and monitored by ISPs, ad agencies, and even the authorities. Unless the internet traffic is encrypted or the IP is kept hidden, your internet privacy and security are always vulnerable.
Hiding or Masking your IP address is one such way that offers you a barrier from data and privacy breaches. The most commonly used tool to hide your IP is by using the VPN. Other options like proxy servers, Tor Browser, and NAT firewalls also do exist that can mask your IP address.
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How to Hide IP address
A Virtual private network (VPN) is a networking tunnel where the encrypted data are passed through to the VPN server. These data are then sent to the destination by masking your IP and securing your data.
A VPN can be a reliable option for creating a safe network. Especially if you are using an insecure public network, it is always recommended to use a VPN service for better data security, anonymity, and privacy.
The proxy server stays as a mediator between the internet and your devices, and any request going to the web is redirected through the server. The host server or the website you are trying to access will only see the IP of the proxy server while the original IP remains hidden.
In some ways, the proxy is similar to the VPN. However, the proxy servers only work for a single app at a time and do not offer any encryption for the traffic. The only benefit of using the proxies over the VPN is that most proxy servers are faster as the internet traffic does not have to undergo encryption.
If you are going for Proxy servers to mask your IP, always choose the option that offers better speed, security, and anonymity.
On conventional routing, the IP packets could be easily traced on the way to the destination. Thus it is quite difficult to mask the IP in the normal network environment.
To browse the internet anonymously by hiding the IP, you can use Onion Routing instead. On an Onion network, the data are enclosed with encryption in layers, just like the layers on the onion.
These layers get decrypted over the network nodes (known as the onion routers), one at a time, and taken all the way to the destination.
This process hides the information of the sender and keeps him/her anonymous. However, you will experience slower internet because of the Onion routing, as each request from the user has to pass through the nodes. Also, you are only able to access this encrypted network protocol only using the Tor Browser.
Implementation of NAT Firewall
Network Address Translation (NAT) is a process that translates private IP addresses to a public IP. NAT can be implemented on a router and even a firewall.
A NAT firewall basically restricts the incoming unsolicited packets and also broadcasts your Public IP address while hiding the private one. This process is known as IP masquerading, where the source IP addresses are changed to another single IP.