Your IP address is:
What is an IP address?
Every device on an IP network has an IP address. Your home or office LAN is an IP network and, as such, your computer or mobile device will be assigned an internal IP address by the network, usually by a router or dedicated hardware. As your network is also on the Internet, your router will be assigned one or more public IP addresses by your ISP. This public IP address is what the test shows above.
Does my IP address pose a risk?
No. Every Internet-connected device needs to have a public IP address. Without it other devices won't be able to communicate with you.
Am I sharing my IP address with other people?
Maybe. Mobile operators and some broadband ISPs allocate "dynamic" public IP addresses which may change every few days. WiFi hotspots will usually have one public IP shared amongst connected users. Of course your home or office LAN will be shared with everyone there. Broadband companies usually have a static IP option for a small additional fee.
What information does an IP give away?
Very little. Internet governing bodies keep track of IP address information such as which ISP or hosting company it has been assigned to (usually in large blocks). Anti-spam and anti-fraud companies will track badly-behaving IP addresses. None of this contains your personal information.
Can it be used for evil?
Of course! Just as a telephone number can be prank called, an IP address can be used for malicious purposes. Advertising and search companies will use an IP address to help them track you (along with other unique identifiers). ISPs may be required by law to log all activity against an IP address for later retrieval in your country.
Can I hide my IP address?
Yes, you can use a cheap VPN or proxy to change your public IP address. This acts as a gateway between your Internet connection and the Internet services you use. By using a strong VPN you can encrypt all network traffic to circumvent ISP logging. Advertising companies will still track you with cookies, so look into browser plugins or incognito mode for complete privacy.