Connect with us

Cyber Crime

Online Ghost: How Threat Actors Secure and Hide Their IP Addresses with Proxy, VPN, and Tor



Online Ghost: How Threat Actors Secure and Hide Their IP Addresses with Proxy, VPN, and Tor

NEW DELHI: The internet offers a vast landscape of information and connection, but it can also be a breeding ground for malicious activity. Hackers, or “threat actors” as they are often called, employ various tactics to mask their identities and evade detection. One crucial element they target is their IP address, which acts like a digital footprint that can lead investigators to their location.

So, how do these cybercriminals manage to stay hidden? This article explores some of the most common methods used to camouflage IP addresses:

  1. Spoofing the Source: IP Address Spoofing

Imagine sending a letter but forging the return address. IP spoofing works similarly. Hackers manipulate data packets to make it seem like their traffic originates from a different IP address, effectively disguising their location. This can be used for a variety of malicious purposes, such as launching denial-of-service attacks or gaining unauthorized access to systems.

ALSO READ: Join the Movement: Future Crime Research Foundation Launches State Chapters to Build a Cyber-Safe India


  1. Double the Protection: VPN over Tor vs. Tor over VPN

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) encrypt your internet traffic and route it through a remote server, masking your IP address from websites you visit. The Tor network, on the other hand, anonymizes your traffic by bouncing it through a series of volunteer-operated relays, making it difficult to trace its origin.

Here’s where it gets interesting: some users opt for a double layer of protection:

  • VPN over Tor: This method prioritizes anonymity. Your traffic travels through the Tor network first, masking your IP address from the VPN provider. This setup is ideal for accessing services that block Tor exit nodes, but it can be complex and slow down your connection.
  • Tor over VPN: This approach prioritizes security. You connect to the VPN first, hiding your activity from your ISP. Then, your traffic enters the Tor network, further anonymizing your online presence. This setup is easier to configure and allows access to Tor hidden services on the dark web.
  1. The Ultimate Shield: Proxy Server, VPN, and Tor

For the ultimate cloak of invisibility, some users combine all three methods – a proxy server, a VPN, and the Tor network. This creates a multi-layered defense, making it extremely difficult to trace the source of the traffic.

Thinking about using a proxy server, VPN, and Tor network all together for maximum online privacy? Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

  • Proxy Power: First things first, configure your device to connect to a proxy server. This acts as your initial shield, sending your internet traffic there first.
  • VPN Vault: Once your traffic is flowing through the proxy, connect to a VPN service. This encrypts your data like a digital vault, hiding your IP address from the proxy server itself.
  • Tor Tunnel: After securing your connection with the VPN, launch the Tor browser or configure your device to use the Tor network. This acts like a tunnel, routing your already-encrypted VPN traffic through multiple relays, making it even harder to trace back to you.

ALSO READ: Prime Minister Modi Raises Alarm on Misinformation and Deepfake Videos as Political Tensions Rise

Here’s the Catch:

It’s important to remember that your internet service provider (ISP) can still see that you’re connected to a proxy server. They just won’t be able to see the specific VPN and Tor connections you’re using.

The VPN keeps your real IP address hidden from the proxy server.

Tor adds another layer of anonymity by bouncing your traffic through multiple anonymous nodes.

While your IP address is masked, your ISP can potentially see the final exit point of your connection, whether it’s a Tor exit node, a VPN server, or a proxy IP address.

Challenges for Investigators:

These methods make it very difficult for law enforcement agencies (LEA) to track down the source of an IP address. Time is critical in investigations. The quicker an attack is identified, the easier it is to gather data and trace the culprits. This often involves analyzing massive amounts of data and collaborating with international partners.

While combining a proxy server, VPN, and Tor network offers a high level of anonymity, it’s not a perfect shield. Responsible online behavior and staying informed about online threats are still the best ways to protect yourself.


Follow on

 TelegramFacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram and YouTube

Continue Reading