Most of us believe that our IP address can be tracked only by the Internet Service Provider. Did you know that there are multiple ways in which someone can spy on your IP address? Anybody knowing one of these techniques can easily reveal your IP address. To spy on your IP address, they do not need your permission. Spying on someone's IP address can be used to trace cyberbullying as well as bad intentions.
IP address reveals some vital information about you. This includes details about your Internet Service Provider, and your location. While these are basic information, there are more intelligent systems which can also track OS version, browser, and device information. Now the question is why would someone be interested in knowing your IP address.
Reasons Why someone may spy on your IP address
A business may want to spy IP address to track your location. This helps them target you with better offers and Ads. They can build a suitable preference profile which can help obtaining more customers. Your IP can be used to track, block or target you.
A hacker may spy on your IP address to track your events and use your IP address to their advantage. Intruders can use sophisticated techniques along with your IP address to hack your systems.
- As a user, you would want to browse the Internet with full freedom and having no fear of any privacy invasions.
- You would not prefer to be bombarded with Ads the moment you visit any website.
- Security about online transactions is the biggest fear. The transactions should be protected.
With the absence of net neutrality an ISP can throttle your bandwidth based on your IP or charge you additionally based on the content you browse. Irrespective of the intention, there are multiple reasons why someone would want to spy your IP address.
Ways to Spy someone's IP address
Below are few techniques that can be employed to spy someone's IP address.
- Borrowing someone's computer: This is one of the easiest technique to steal someone's IP address. You can borrow the computer and can find out the IP address either by using ipconfig /all command or by using an online service such as iplocation to find IP address details.
- Wireless network: This can happen if your wireless network is not secure enough or if you have shared the credentials of the wireless network with a guest. A person having access to your wireless network will also share your public IP address. In most routers, you have an option to view who are connected to the wireless network. This makes it simpler to capture an your public and private IP addresses.
In case you do not find the IP information from your router, you may also use an online IP scanner. This will provide a list of IP address which is shared and makes your task simpler to find the IP you wish to spy.
- Emails: Most of the email providers today do not display IP address in the header. However certain less popular email service providers or self hosted mail server may be revealing the IP address of your public IP address. There are also trace email tools which allow you to trace the sender's IP address from the mail headers.
- Web bugs or Web Beacons: This is one of the simplest ways to spy and get someone's IP address. This technique can be used over emails or web pages and can be used to track IP address. Only the user needs to access the web page or open the email whereby the sending server can track the IP address.
- Blog comments: This is an interesting way to spy someone's IP address. If you are the blog administrator and someone happens to comment on your blog, then along with the comments you can also get the IP address of the author.
- Logging: If you have a website and are trying to capture the IP addresses of users who have accessed your website, then this is extremely simple. Most web development languages enable tracking remote IP address which is easily detectable from the request header.
For instance, the client-side HTTP header X-FORWARDED-FOR can provide the remote IP details. Or, on the server-side, the programming language provides utilities to obtain IP address(es) of the computer requesting the page, suha as getRemoteAddr().
This information, based on the underlying technology can be captured in the web server logs or track in a persistent system such as a Database.
- Internet Forums: As an online user, most of us tend to be part of multiple forums. The intention here is to discuss and share topics. However, along with forum posts there are also a few other information which can be accessible to the administrator. One of this easily accessible information is the IP address. So, if you own a discussion forum, then it's easy to spy user's IP address as well.
- Social Media Channels: While we all enjoy being on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and others, a less known fact is that your information gets shared. The IP address is easily traceable by site administrators or amongst site users. If you do not own a social media network, then how do you spy on someone's IP address? Well, that is simply by adding a clickable link which takes the user to your website. This way you can also capture the user's IP address.
A similar technique is used by most e-commerce platforms where a link or an image is used to track IP address, commonly known as a web beacon.
- E-commerce and messaging apps: Apps such as grabify.link or iplogger.org allow you to create trackable links. Providing these links to the user whose IP you wish to trace can help you track the IP address the moment this link is accessed.
- HostName: In case you are aware of a hostname of the machine and if this is accessible or within the same LAN, then you can easily spy on the IP address. This can be done by issuing a host hostname command over a Linux machine. As an output of this command, you would be able to see the IP address.
Similarly, ping or nslookup command can be used to get the IP address. In case you do not know the hostname and want to spy an IP address on the LAN, then you can use the command arp -a. This will provide IP and Mac details of all computers available on the network.
- Netstat command: Netstat is by and large one of the most used commands by network administrators. However, this can also be used to trace IP address. To trace someone's IP address, you can use social media network such as Facebook. Ensure to close all other windows on your computer and initiate a chat with the person whose IP address needs to be traced.
Once you initiate the chat, use netstat command as netstat -an. This will provide all details of all the established connections, including IP address. From here you can trace the location for each IP address and thereby deduce the target's messenger IP address. While this does not directly give user's IP address, you can still get the messenger's IP address.
Some of the methods we have seen to spy someone's IP address are extremely simple and does not require any sophisticated tools. Being cautious while being online is the key to prevent anyone from accessing your IP address. However, this isn't sufficient. In case you completely want to stop anyone from tracking your IP address, then using a VPN is the most economical and feasible solution.