IP Address Blacklist And What You Need To Know

Internet Protocol or IP address is a numerical label identifying a device on a local network or the internet. It has rules that govern the data format sent through a local network or the internet. An IP address is an identifier that enables communication between devices on a particular network. It contains information that allows the device to send information.

Let’s discuss in this article the relevance of IP address, what is blacklisting, and how to avoid being blacklisted.

What is an IP

An IP address is a set of four numbers; for example,

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) produces IP addresses mathematically and allocates them.

The IANA is a branch of the (ICANN) or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which is a non-profit organization. Its primary function is to allow the internet to be usable by everyone and maintain its security. When you register a domain name on the internet, you have to go through a name registrar who pays a certain amount of money to ICANN for registration.

Types of IP Addresses

There are four main types of IP addresses: public, private, dynamic, and static.

Public IP addresses are addresses where one primary address represents the entire network. All connected devices share the same IP address. The ISP provides a public IP address.

On the other hand, a private address is a unique IP number assigned to each device connected to your home internet. It includes devices such as your smartphone, computers, and tablets. Other devices such as smart TVs, gaming consoles, Bluetooth devices also have their unique IP addresses.

A dynamic IP address is a temporary address. It changes automatically and regularly.

It is only active for a specific time frame and then expires. Static IP addresses remain consistent and cannot be changed. It is assigned a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server.

There are two types of website IP addresses: hared IP addresses and dedicated IP addresses.

Individual websites or SME websites that do not have many visitors or have a limited number of pages usually use shared IP addresses.

Dedicated IP addresses enable you to have a unique IP address to access your website.

What is IP reputation

IP reputation helps to locate IP addresses that send unwanted requests. If a request comes from an IP address with a bad reputation, you can use the IP reputation tool that rejects it. T

The IP reputation of your email depends on the following:

  • the quality of the contents of the message,
  • the quality of the contact lists,
  • and the history of the previously made submissions of that IP address

An IP reputation can help you prevent the following attacks:

  • Compromised web-server
  • Virus-infected personal computers
  • Known spammers and hackers
  • Centrally managed and automated botnet
  • Mass email marketing campaigns
  • Anonymous proxies
  • Phishing proxies

An email marketing provider can make your deliveries from IPs with a good reputation. You can also use a dedicated IP and have an exclusive channel for sharing the IP pool with others.

What Does Being Blacklisted Mean?

IP blocklisting is a way to filter out malicious or illegitimate IP addresses from accessing your networks. Blacklists contain a list of individual or group IP addresses that you want to block. You can combine these lists with intrusion prevention systems (IPS), firewalls, and other tools to filter traffic.

When you create and apply blacklists, you can filter malicious traffic according to policies. You can set your policies by defining the rules within your server software or hardware routers. The rules will determine what is treated as an attack and then prevents your computer from connecting to that traffic again.

When you blacklist an IP address, emails from that address will be redirected to the spam folder, and any emails you send will be bounced back until you remove the address from the blacklist.

Various network security tools can allow you to add new addresses to the blacklist. You can achieve this through external reference lists or the results of event analysis.

Challenges of IP Blacklisting

IP blacklisting is not a foolproof method of preventing IPs from accessing your network. Modern attackers are constantly coming up with multiple ways to get around blacklisting. They include:

1. Changing IP addresses

Attackers can periodically change their IP addresses to avoid being added to the blacklist. They can have a variety of different IP addresses and swap them each time one is blacklisted. This makes it hard to track them.

2. IP spoofing

An attacker can use IP spoofing to attack a network layer and make it look like they were connecting using a different IP address.

This is achieved by tricking monitoring systems that the credentials are legitimate even though they are compromised.

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3. Botnets

The majority of attackers use massive botnets that are sent to the Internet of Things (IoT) devices or end-user devices.

They can control these devices by compromising them or renting a botnet as a service on the dark web. Many attackers are using numerous IP addresses due to the size and increased availability of botnets. IP blacklists cannot protect against this kind of attack since attackers constantly change IP addresses as devices join and leave the botnet.

4. False Positives

False positives can cause problems when implementing blacklists. Although they are not security-related, they can affect productivity.

5. Inaccurate IP detection

When multiple people share the same IP address assigned dynamically, you may not know the end-user using the address. Blocking one user due to malicious actions can also prevent a legitimate user from accessing your network.

Why Practice IP Blacklisting?

IP blacklisting is one of the most effective yet simple forms of access denial. You can actively manage the IP blacklist database to limit access to your organization’s services. Various reasons may cause you to blacklist an address.

1. Malware on Your Device

The most common reason for blacklisting is when your device has been infected with a virus.

This can happen when you check your emails or surf the web and encounter a virus without knowing.

Your IP is then blacklisted to protect the integrity of any networks or websites that you attempt to connect to.

In this case, you need to have the malware removed and contact the business or service that has blacklisted you to explain the issue.

2. Illicit activities

Various networks can blacklist you if you have engaged in any illicit business or unlawful activity.

Your internet service provider can also blacklist you.

Illegal trade, cyber-crimes, or darknet activity are potential threats to others.

3. Inappropriate Website

Operating a website whose content is deemed inappropriate may get your IP blacklisted..

Inappropriate content can be black market trade, pornographic material, or sensitive subjects such as arms deals or weapons. Government agencies or internet service providers can actively block a site to prevent it from being accessible.

4. Using certain types of applications or software

A business or internet service provider can block a particular web application, program, or browser.

It could be a result of various reasons like potential security flaws.

Some software that may lead to IP blacklisting includes unknown operating systems or third-party web browser applications.

5. To Prevent spying

Various live streaming providers may keep an IP blacklist database to avoid the authorities or government agencies from viewing their content and services.

Tips to Avoid Being Blacklisted

Various reasons can cause your IP address to be blacklisted.

An improperly secured email infrastructure can increase the risk of being infected with a virus.

Here are measures you can take to avoid being blacklisted.

1. Set strong passwords

Spammers or attackers can easily take over an account that has a weak password. They use dictionary attacks that consist of a list of words that are commonly used as passwords.

Avoid obvious passwords and use password that has both lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols, and numbers.

2. Do not allow Relaying

Attackers usually exploit open relays, and it’s crucial that you make sure your server does not relay mail.

Relaying occurs when mail is sent through your server, and it’s not to or from a local account.

3. Set up an SPF record

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an anti-spoofing method. It determines if the mail received was sent from an authorized domain.

4. Enable SSL

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a technique for encrypting the connection between a server and a mail client.

Other tips for securing your mail server include:

  • Enabling SMTP screening• Use trusted hosts and trusted IPs
  • Configure your firewall
  • Block port 25 outbound on your network
  • Use a static IP
  • Sign message with Domain Keys Identified Mail

Teamstack can help your organization deal with security threats and avoid being blacklisted.

You can get tools such as multi-factor authentication, passwordless login, One-click provisioning, single sign-on, cloud directory, among others.

Teamstack offers best-in-class accessibility and security features that will protect your business, save valuable time and boost your efficiency.

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