rintracciare indirizzo ip

Tracking an IP address: how to do it?

How to trace back a device IP address ? It’s not difficult at all!

With the spreading of technology in every field of our lives, from private to working environments, there are some aspects that are taking for granted, but that after all are not so much, for instance, not everyone knows how to track an IP address of their own property.

Everybody has one, just a few knows what it is exactly, what is its purpose and its function, but it’s important to know it, in order to use web tools in an appropriate way.

What’s an IP address

The terms means Internet Protocol address.

In Computer science and telecommunications, with it we mean a a numerical tag of the IP datagram, which identifies uniquely a device, the host, connected to a computer network, that uses as a network protocol the Internet Protocol in order to perform addressing functions.

The IP address, therefore, is inserted in the IP datagram, so the header, to perform addressings through the IP protocol.

The net host can be a PC, a smartphone, a router or a  smart household appliance and it’s identified with the assignment of an interface, because every host can contain more than one interface: in that case, for every interface there’s a different IP address.

Basically, every cellphone, smartphone and mobile device that’s capable of connecting to internet has an IP address and this permits the authorities to trace every operation done from a device, legal or illegal.

Indeed, everyIP address is divided in two parts:

  • the first part identifies the net and it’s called Net_ID or network or routing prefix ed, in addition, it’s used for routing to sub-nets; to route the host locally once the local sub-network target has been reached; after that, there’s the translation or resolving address of MAC enabling the actual delivery  of the data package to the recipient, with the protocols specific to the local network, with the protocols that are specific to the local network.

IP address what’s the use

Every device belonging to an internal or external net must be identified and this happens thanks to the IP address, that is translated in a numerical series.

So, it’s the base of a correct transmission of information from the sender to the receiver.

For a device to send a data package, the corresponding router must orient itself on the IP header and compare the IP source with the IP destination: if the two network parts match each other, it means that the sender and the recipient are in the same network and the packet has been directly forwarded.

If this desn’t happen, the router contacts the DSN, which means Domain Name System, that deals with the resolving of the name, so the conversion of names of the devices in IP address and vice-versa.

IP address are assigned by IANA, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, which has control on all available IP address space and assigns blocks to the five RIR’s, an acronym for  Regional Internet Registries, such as AfriNIC, APNIC, ARIN, LACNIC and RIP and NCC.

NCC is responsible for central Asia, Middle East and Europe, therefore it distributes the IPs assigned to it to local and national allocation organisations, from which they are transmitted to subproviders or directly to the final customers.

Tracking an IP address

It’s possible to trace back our own IP address and this can be useful when it’s requested to insert it in a procedure for configuring an email program or a cloud.

In order to see the local one of a computer, you just need to use the programs of the operating system:

  • if it’s Windows, type “ipconfig” in the prompt commands; to open it, press [Windows] + [R] and type “cmd”;
  • if, instead, you want to trace back a local Mac IP, you can see it by going on System preferences and then, on Network.

IP addresses and personal data

As we’ve already mentioned, IP addresses can make known a set of data of its user, while not containing it; however, it can be used to draw information about the user who uses it.

To start, it’s easy to trace back a user’s Internet provider via an IP address, which can be determined with a reverse DNS query or with the Tracert command line; other figures, however, indicate precise enterprises or authorities, if the range of addresses assigned to them by the competent authorities is known.
Depending on what is the distance of the user of an IP address compared to the point of internet presence, you can also determine a more or less precise location: in particular, in the city areas, it is easy to geolocate and it is also more precise, as the points are closer together.
Because of this capacity, IP addresses are considered as personal data.
Indeed, using these, internet providers can monitor and trace the flow of data related to their customers.

For this reason, the IP addresses memorization has been a delicate issue, until the arrival of the GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation, which established that the IP addresses are identifiers online and, therefore, fully-fledged personal data identifiers, in order to be adequately protected.

Just public security authorities have special access rights  to them in criminal cases.

To hide an IP: is it possible?

It’s not possible to hide completely your IP, but there are systems that help concealing it, at least partly, so that operations are not intercepted, such as conversations through messagging apps.

One first tool to do so is the Tor Browser Bundle, which permits its users to surf the net anonimously. Nevertheless, data packets must in any case pass first through a separate network, so this system sometimes does not offer high bandwidth.

Another system is using a VPN, which means Virtual Private Network, that are virtual communications networks through which is possible to perform encrypted transmissions of data.
Browsing on a VPN, the requested web server sees the IP address used by the VPN, but not the one used by the user. There are dedicated apps that connect with Vpns and encrypt everything so you don’t leave a trace.

A third possibility is given by the use of a proxy server, that can accept data packages and forward them through its IP address, keeping safe the IP of the user.

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