What Does Your IP Address Reveal About You
By Leo Notenboom
Associating an IP address with an actual name and address – might be harder than TV and movies have lead you to believe.–PC Pitstop
While getting someone’s name and address from their IP address is technically possible, it’s also typically difficult and requires involving law enforcement.
I have the IP address from someone who’s causing me some problems. Can I get their name and location from that?
Yes and no. But mostly no.
This is perhaps one of the most common questions or comments that I get. Unfortunately, people’s expectations have been colored – often dramatically – by popular television shows and movies.
Unfortunately, this is real life – which isn’t nearly as easy or exciting.
Publicly available information
As I’ve discussed in previous articles, there are services on the internet that will return information about an IP address.
ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers, is the canonical place to start. It’s this organization that actually organizes IP address assignments in the U.S. They provide a “who is” (often just referred to as whois, without the space) search, which will look up the owner of an IP address or refer you to the equivalent service in another country, if appropriate.
DomainTools.com is another one that includes a whois service that will look up both domain names (like “askleo.com”) and IP addresses, so you can see who owns them.
PlotIP is an interesting service that will also perform a whois lookup and return information about the IP address, including a map of where the service believes the IP address is located.
This excerpt appears with permission from Leo Notenboom.