Businesses face ever-increasing risks in the online world. From ransomware to DDoS attacks, every entrepreneur and manager need to take the necessary actions to ensure their operations are protected and have reduced exposure in front of online threats.
The median ransomware request per attack is approximately $13.000, a sum that tends to increase periodically, especially as attacks become more sophisticated by the day.
At the same time, DDoS attacks increased in frequency. Cisco estimates that the number of DDoS attacks will increase to more than 14.5 million in the next couple of years, until 2022.
These are not the only types of attacks, but with their increase in frequency, every business needs to take action and consider various ways to prevent them.
The bottom line – a business’s IP address
One of the easiest ways to prevent such attacks for a company or organization is to hide its IP addresses. Once a malicious actor knows the IP address of a server, it can easily target that server with a DDoS attack.
Or if a company uses hosted email on their on-premises servers, a hacker can send malicious emails with ransomware code.
Ways to prevent attacks
There are several ways in which an organization can achieve to hide their IP address to prevent these issues.
The first and the most expensive way is to externalize all servers and computing power to a cloud company, such as AWS or Microsoft. In this way, by transferring all their computing capabilities to such a service, a business transfers all the risks and exposure to such attacks. The assumption is that once somebody becomes a paying customer for such a service, the cloud service will take the necessary steps to prevent and mitigate the risks.
For businesses not willing to externalize their computing power, there is another way they can prevent these attacks – they can employ various tools to hide their IP addresses.
3 Tools to hide an IP address
These are the three main tools that are commercially available and ready to be used by a business to hide their IP address.
1. Use a business or commercial VPN
A VPN, virtual private network, is a tool designed to encrypt a device’s total Internet traffic and to forward it to a VPN server.
Using a VPN, a business can have all its external Internet traffic forwarded to a server from where it will, later on, reach the real Internet.
This tool can protect a business by hiding its server’s original IP addresses so that any malicious actor trying to identify the business’s online address will see the VPN’s IP.
Any DDoS attacks targeting the business will hit the VPN server, not the company’s servers.
Also, most VPN services manage tens or hundreds of servers worldwide, and at any time, the organization can change the server used and the IP address used.
2. Use proxy servers
Similar to VPNs, proxies are servers designed to handle traffic on behalf of their users and show their IP address.
The significant difference between a VPN and a proxy is that the later doesn’t encrypt web traffic. So malicious actors located between the business and the proxy server can identify the organization’s IP address.
It sounds like a major disadvantage, but actually, it is not because these two tools are used differently.
A VPN is used for privacy and encrypting traffic, and a device can create only one VPN connection at any single time. But proxies can be used several at once. And they can also be used on top of VPNs.
One organization can use a VPN to encrypt its Internet traffic, and at the same time, from the VPN server, they can send the traffic further to multiple proxies. They can send all their social media traffic through a particular proxy server, while their online searches can be transmitted through another IP address.
This setup adds one more layer of privacy and security and further reduces the chances of somebody identifying the real IP address of a business.
3. Use a VPS – Virtual Private Server
The third way of hiding the IP address is to use a VPS, which should not be mistaken for a VPN.
A VPS, virtual private server, is a PC located in the cloud. It has an operating system and can be accessed and used as a remote PC with an OS, browser, and system configuration.
This tool is a great tool to use because if a malicious code manages to execute, it will be executed in the cloud, at the VPS level, not on an organization’s device.
Bonus tools: firewalls and antiviruses
These two tools are self-explanatory. Every business should consider using them. While they do not hide a device’s IP address, they can increase the chance of detecting and mitigating a possible attack. Also, there are some antivirus services, like Bitdefender, that also offer VPNs.
Businesses can prevent attacks and protect their digital footprints, but they can’t be 100% safe. There are specific considerations and actions that any organization need to take to safeguard their digital environment. One such step is to hide their organization’s system IP address through various tools.