What can a hacker do with an IP address?
It depends. Think of your IP address as the same kinda thing as a real address. If a criminal knows the address of a bank, what can they do? It completely depends on what security is in place.
If you've got a firewall running (e.g. Windows Firewall) or are behind a NAT router, you're probably safe. Both of these will prevent arbitrary incoming traffic from hitting your computer. This stops most remote exploits.
- Enable Windows firewall, or whatever firewall is available on your OS of choice.
- Keep up to date with patches for your OS. These are critical!
- Keep up to date with patches for your browser and any plugins (e.g. Flash)
- Keep up to date with patches for your applications (e.g. Office, Adobe PDF, etc.)
- If you're running any internet-facing services (e.g. httpd) on your machine, keep those up to date and configure their security appropriately.
- Install a basic AV package if you're really worried. Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is a great choice for Windows, because it's free, unintrusive and not much of a performance hog.
If the firewall is set up correctly, does not have deliberate holes, and if the NAT router is up-to-date with patches and does not allow admin logins from the Internet....
@schroeder Sure, but most firewalls these days are point-and-click, so by default they just block everything. However, a hole might punch through to an internal service, which is why I said to keep everything up to date.
Sorry for the additional question: What about DDos? Is it possible to become a victim of DDOS-Attacks? Perhaps someone forges requests with my IP as a recipient of Millions of requests, where the answers flood my IP?