An IP address is assigned to you when you connect to the internet via your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Your IP address is comparable to your mailing address, but it is unique to your computer on the internet. The IP address is used to direct internet traffic to your computer. To be clear, an IP address does not reveal your exact location.
Furthermore, IP addresses are divided into two main categories. On a closed network, private IP addresses are used to identify machines. A private IP address is, for example, your home Wi-Fi network. Your router assigns a unique identification to each device so that your PC can communicate with your game console.
IP addresses are used for the same reason throughout the internet. Your internet service provider (ISP) will assign you an address, which will be either static or dynamic.
- Static IP addresses: These are unchangeable. Consider these to be similar to your phone number. Unless you want to request a new one, it will remain the same. That's because they're commonly used by things like servers, where you'll require a consistent IP address.
- Dynamic IP addresses: These are the most popular type of IP address and, unlike static addresses, they change often. Every day or so, the ISP issues a new IP address to the network. These are less expensive because ISPs can maintain and supply them more easily.
How the police use IP addresses to catch criminals?
Every internet-connected gadget has its own IP (Internet Protocol) address. The cybercriminal's Internet Service Provider (ISP) can simply provide user information. If the crime is taking place on social media, the details are also available on these channels. So, sure, it is entirely possible to determine the precise position of any person on the internet, using their IP address.
The police or any form of law enforcement is unlikely to do this unless they feel that they have an explicit reason to. For example, if a person is involved in cybercrime and the police wish to track their exact location, they will search for their IP address.
Various websites contain all of the data and tracking information about IP addresses. Once the police have obtained the IP address, they will contact the ISP. These Internet Service Providers assign IP addresses to their customers. As a result, they keep track of every IP address they assign.
Furthermore, your ISP knows everything about the websites you visit, the things you search for on the Internet, and other information.
The authorities will simply inquire about the physical address of this IP, which the ISP will gladly supply. However, this IP address can also be faked. The majority of hackers conceal their identities and remain anonymous.
Why would someone want to track my IP address?
For the most part, your IP address's activity is entirely your responsibility, presuming no one is spying on you or monitoring the browsing history on your device. However, there are three key scenarios in which that information will be shared or accessed by a third party.
1. Legal Reasons
IP addresses are how we as a nation identify people who engage in illicit online behavior and hold them accountable. This spans from minor to major felonies. When someone illegally downloads material or software, the firm that owns the copyright can find out and trace the behavior to a specific IP address.
They won't know that it's you immediately, but they can find out which ISP owns the address and send a threat to them to pass along to you. Your ISP will know who to blame for the offense since they have a record of which IP address was issued to you at a given moment and the behavior associated with it.
While following an IP address related to illicit behavior can eventually lead to someone learning the identity and address of the person behind the computer, this is not information your ISP will give out easily. Most internet service providers adhere to tight privacy rules, thus the average person requesting the information is unlikely to be successful.
2. Marketing Reasons
An IP address can be traced back to a specific individual in some legal proceedings. However, when it comes to marketing purposes, IP tracking is more anonymousous. Marketing and analytics tools can track the location of IP addresses and send such information to website owners.
As a result, when your IP address connects to a server to access a specific website, the website can determine where the visitor is coming from. That information can be used to customize the page you are viewing in real-time.
Furthermore, such data will be preserved and made available to the website owner via tools such as Google Analytics. They won't know your name or address, but they will be able to see that they have a website visitor from your city.
If the website employs cookies, which are data packets that track and collect additional information about your website usage, they will be able to link your info to your other data.
3. Scam Detection
Many credit card providers and eCommerce sites now employ security technologies to detect potentially fraudulent payments. If a major purchase is made, the software might flag it for evaluation before it is completed. If the purchase is coming from a place other than the one where the credit card owner resides, they may contact the owner before processing it.
In this situation, IP address tracking will not identify you as an individual, but it will assist firms in learning vital information about you depending on your location. Because IP addresses give broad geographical data, they can assist protect you, your credit card company, and the companies with whom you do business from expensive fraudulent purchases.
While it’s completely possible for the police or other law enforcement to track your location using your IP address, they’re not likely to do this unless they feel that they have reason to.
For example, if you’re committing crimes online, it’s likely that law enforcement will try to track you using your IP address. If you’re a normal, law-abiding citizen, then you needn’t worry. Unless you have concerns about scam detection or targeted ads, then this isn’t something you need to worry about.
To protect your IP address, we recommend using a secure VPN or browser, such as Tor.