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Web Stalkers
Chapter 9 - Self Protection on the Web

Recommendations for Firewall Safety

An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is how computers find and communicate with each other.  IP addresses are similar to street addresses.  They are unique which allows mail and emergency services to be able to locate them.  There are public IP addresses and private ones.  Public IP addresses are how web browsers can find the computers that run websites.  The current addressing methodology limits the number of available addresses. 

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is the group that controls the assignment of IP addresses by blocks.  These blocks of addresses are grouped geographically, so an IP address frequently will indicate where in the world a particular computer is located.

If a user wants to know what their IP address is, two web-based resources are available. They are:

These resources will reveal the public IP address the ISP has given the user.  This is usually dynamic so it may change from time to time.  This IP address may be different from the one used by your computer depending on how the network is set up.

Private IP addresses are generally used either for computers that do not need to access the Internet or for ones that access the Internet through an intermediate server that serves as a relay station.  For home Internet users, either their DSL or cable modem or their ISP serves as a relay station.  This means that they are able to use private addresses. 

The above text is an excerpt from:

Web Stalkers
Protect yourself from Internet Criminals & Psychopaths
ISBN 0-97-45993-9-5

by Donald K. Burleson, Stephen Andert

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