Are there other varieties of tracking/getting someone's IP address than making them click on a link or reading the header of an e-mail you received.

In the 21st century most of the people are so far sensitized to not click on suspicious links on the internet or in their e-mails. The time will come, in which the hackers have to figure out how to get the IP addresses of their victims otherwise.

What are the smoothest ways for obtaining IP addresses now(and possibly in the future) and how to protect oneself?

  • Welcome to Security Stack Exchange. It might be helpful to provide context, because security specialists do not like to make assumptions. Can you clarify the context? For example, are you asking about internet browsing from your home? (and not something else such as locating server IPs) Oct 31, 2016 at 18:14
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    Hey. Getting the IP of a Server was covered in every book i've read so far. I think more of how they can track/locate me(my IP) over my Digital Footprint, especially on social media, but without the need of a interaction with me(like clicking a link or anything else that is obviosly suspicious).
    – Gistiv
    Oct 31, 2016 at 19:13

2 Answers 2


Some approaches to obtaining IP addresses:

  • In the case of a public server, you can obtain the IP address by querying the DNS system. Try nslookup <servername>.

  • Causing the the target machine to make an (IP) connection to a machine under the control of the attacker will reveal the public IP of the target. As noted by @Bubble Hacker, browsers will automatically connect to servers in order to display images.

  • In some cases it may be possible for an attacker to use social engineering to trick end users into revealing their IP addresses. For example, an attacker posing as a system administrator could telephone a user and ask them to perform a series of steps which will reveal their IP.

  • Web servers typically log connections from clients. If an attacker compromises this server, they have access to all these IP addresses.

  • Certain applications reveal the IP address of connected applications (e.g. BitTorrent clients).

To protect the privacy of your IP address, consider using a VPN service for connecting to machines over the internet. For an additional layer of security, consider using Tor.


Most methods of getting an IP would usually include some kind of interaction with the victim and a server/service hosted by the attacker. I have heard of all kinds of crazy ways but in my opinion image loading is the smoothest.

The way it works is the attacker hosts an image on his server and then gets the victims browser to render it.

There are all kinds of different services and social networks that allow you to add an image as a link. The server then saves the link and not the image itself. When the "malicious" link of the image is displayed in an <img> tag the browser then makes a request causing the victims IP to have an interaction with the attackers server.

If you find a web app like this then it looks all legitimate and even when looking at the website all will seem normal making it smooth and quiet.

  • <img> tags are used to include an image from an arbitrary URL. An <img> tag could be added to this site for example. You do not have to click to see the image, you just have to be viewing the post on which the <img> tag was placed. Another example would be an email that is sent to you. This is why many email clients will ask before loading external images. Oct 31, 2016 at 20:32

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