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What Can Someone Do With Your IP Address?

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Trusted on over 2 Million websites. When we were launching teachoo, we wanted to track what the users did, Statcounter was a fast and reliable alternative. Since we are content site, there have been a lot of instances where statcounter helped prevent people from copying our data since it shows real time data with insights from number of pages viewed to the ip address. We've used a lot of tracking software over the years, but Statcounter has always been the one we log in to, day after day, for a quick, clear view of traffic flow across our web properties.

Even when they do the IP address doesn't tell you much. I recently joined a Website for "Singles" which allows instant messaging between interested parties. I was warned by one of my friends that there are people on this website who have multiple profiles.

These people could IM you using one profile today and another profile tomorrow. My friend suggested that one way of knowing for sure whether these two profiles are two different people or the same person with two profiles, is to check their IP address when the IM window opens in front of you. Having said that there are a couple of very rare exceptions where you can kind of, sort of, maybe tell.

But not really. To begin with, you didn't say which IM service is being used. In addition, your dating site may well have implemented their own IM system - it's actually not that hard. The single biggest problem with IP addresses and most instant messaging services it this: you're connecting to the service, not to the person you're IMing. When you create an instant messaging conversation, you're not connecting to the person you're talking with at all.

Instead, your instant messaging program connects to the servers that are used by the IM service. When you send an IM your message is sent to those servers, and then from those servers sent on to whomever it is you're IM'ing. If I then use the whois lookup at arin. Nowhere in there is the IP address of the party to whom I'm speaking. To confirm, that "other party" is my wife's place of business, so I know what the IP address would be should it have been visible. Now it's easy to say that "most" IM clients connect you through their servers, but it's also true that some do not.

In fact, some instant messaging services allow you to establish a "direct connection". I believe that AIM allows you to switch to this type of connection, and some other services such as Skype actually often operate this way natively in some configurations after the connection has been made.

So let's assume, then, that using TcpView during an IM conversation you're able to capture the IP addresses used by your IM program, and one of these represents a direct connection to the person you're messaging. They could be behind a router or proxy provided by their ISP. This means that any number of people could "appear" to use that same IP.

How to get someones ip address and trace Location EASY!!!

Similarly, they could be behind a router or proxy provided by their school or place of work. They could be behind their own router at home as I so often recommend. Any number of machines could be behind that router, and there's no way for you to tell which machine you're conversing with. The best you can do is identify the ISP that's providing the internet connection to the person you're conversing with. But you can't get it. You need the cooperation of the ISP that provides that other person's internet connection, and that typically requires a court order or other law-enforcement involvement.

So unless you can convince law-enforcement that they should get involved, even having the IP address tells you pretty much next to nothing. You simply cannot rely on an IP address to mean the same person. IP addresses could be shared, and you can't even imply that an IP address changing means that the person has changed - IP addresses could be reallocated. While you might be able to make some broad generalizations; for example if one IP resolves to an ISP in the United States, and another resolves to an ISP overseas, then perhaps it's not the same person.

But then again, to someone really dedicated to hiding his or her identity, even that can be circumvented. Bottom line: don't read anything into the IP address until or unless you can involve law enforcement.

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It's just not a reliable enough indicator. So, does this also mean that someone could log-on from different machines, ie from their workplace, and then say an hour later from home, giving different IP addresses, but actually being the same person. If this is the case, it would be even harder to identify that person. There are sites that give the 'exact' location of any given IP address, but on entering mine, are not always accurate, although sometimes frighteningly close.

When using Tor, I appear to be at different locations - all over the world. Is it possible that some people can combine Tor or similar and their IM application to further muddy the waters? Andrew, France. I think is not likely that you will meet 2 persons that are behind the same router. I used Abika. They reported back one week later with the physical address and IP address of the computer.

Called the address and got the problem taken care of. Believe me, it's well work the money.


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They send you an official document also to take to law enforcement if you have to. It's miles off for me, for example. I'll keep saying it: there is NO reliable way to trace an IP address using only publicly avialable information. Only police and law enforcement can do more with a court order. Very nice article.