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(also Internet Protocol version 4)

IPv4 definition

IPv4 is the fourth version of the Internet Protocol (IP) and the most widely used IP protocol. Each IPv4 address is a 32-bit number. It consists of four sets separated by periods, with each set containing a value between 0 and 255 in the form of “” IPv4 addresses route internet traffic, and devices use them for communication over the internet. Each device must have an IP address to transmit information or communicate with other devices, including smartphones, computers, servers, and smart TVs. However, IPv4 has a few disadvantages and challenges. Due to this, it is susceptible to hacker attacks. Therefore, IPv6 is replacing IPv4 to provide a larger address space and improved functionality.

See also: man-in-the-middle attack, cyberthreat

IPv4 disadvantages

  • Lack of built-in security features. Compared to IPv6, this protocol doesn’t offer advanced security features to prevent session hijacking, IP spoofing, and DDoS attacks.
  • Compatibility issues. IPv4 doesn’t work with the IPv6 protocol. As a result, security gaps can appear in some network environments that hackers can easily misuse.
  • A limited number of IP addresses. IPv4 comes with a limited IP address space. It can support a maximum of approximately 4.3 billion unique IP addresses, which is insufficient for the growing number of devices connected to the internet.

Preventing IPv4 hacker attacks

  • Implement firewalls and access control that will help you restrict unauthorized access and block malicious traffic.
  • Switch to a more secure protocol like IPv6, SSH, or HTTPS to help encrypt traffic and prevent malware attacks.
  • Employ intrusion detection systems to detect malicious activities and help you prevent them on time.
  • Frequently scan for vulnerabilities because this will address any possible security threats, enabling you to apply suitable security measures.
  • Use VPNs to provide secure remote access to the network and to protect data as it travels over public networks.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security