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I was using Facebook today and, after replying politely to someone about how stupid his comment on something was, Mr. John Doe, who I never met before, sent me this message:

You wanna get hacked, huh? In less than 3 minutes I was able to get your dynamic IP, PPPoE and mask (your machine is pretty vulnerable). But stay calm and call your computer technician. Best wishes

Can he hack my Facebook account just with that? I think he was bluffing or something.

If it helps, I am using a regular DSL wireless router, a desktop computer with a USB Wi-Fi receiver and the machine has Windows 7. By the way, I changed the router administration password as soon as I got the wireless router, months before this happened.

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  • 4
    Are you worried about your Facebook account getting hacked or your computer? You seem to combine those worries.
    – schroeder
    Jun 5, 2015 at 0:19
  • 4
    It's probably better not to escalate but if he continues to bother you, report him to Facebook. I'm sure they would be unhappy with his behavior. Jun 5, 2015 at 2:16
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    This is a bit like saying I know the address of your bank, I could easily break into the vault and steal your money.
    – Prinsig
    Jun 5, 2015 at 9:24
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    @Prinsig Or more like I know your home address, I could access your bank account. (Since the IP of a private computer has nothing to do with anyones Facebook account)
    – zovits
    Jun 5, 2015 at 13:28
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    Anyone who boasts about knowing your "mask", which has only 32 possibilities in IPv4 and is set to the same value in almost all home NATs, probably has no knowledge how IP networks work, let alone hacking your computer. Getting your IP and PPPoE account are even more far fetched unless the guy is in a privileged position in the government.
    – billc.cn
    Jun 5, 2015 at 14:43

2 Answers 2

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Your IP is a public address and has nothing to do with your Facebook account. Just knowing it does not help someone to 'hack' you. In the same way, knowing your IP does not increase your threat of your computer being hacked.

He's blustering.

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    Be fair. The antagonist might merely be clueless.
    – AviD
    Jun 5, 2015 at 0:53
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    Do note that he didn't actually tell you your IP address. That leaves me in serious doubt if he actually got it. If he had your IP he could have looked up the city you were in. I suspect that would have had much greater freak-out potential. Jun 5, 2015 at 2:14
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    @NeilSmithline It's Facebook - the OP advertises what city he is from ....
    – schroeder
    Jun 5, 2015 at 2:30
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    "...knowing your IP doesn't increase the threat of being hacked" - Huh? It does, and by a significant margin. Port scan with a subsequent attack on open ports looking for unfixed- or zero-day vulnerabilities, is a quite real threat. Of course, if it is just some-guy-nobody-really-cares-about (i.e. not somebody with Really Important Secrets) computer, nobody is going to spend a zero-day on it, so the zero-day attack isn't likely, but brushing it away as impossible is IMHO too much. That being said, I concur with Neil Smithline. Jun 5, 2015 at 10:35
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    Just knowing it does not help someone to 'hack' you. I don't agree with this statement. IP address is one of the first thing that an attacker needs to hack the machine. Ofcourse it helps the attacker. It is a different matter if the IP is dynamic or behind a NAT... Yes, there is a possibility that someone can hack your FB with your IP. Consider a scenario that you are visiting FB via unsecure connection using free WiFi provided by some cafe. The guy sitting next to your table might already compromised your FB!
    – ρss
    Jun 5, 2015 at 14:32
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Your IP isn't public by default (every website you visit knows it, but that's it) and some random guy on Facebook shouldn't be able to get it. To get it he would need to trick you into visiting a website he controls or use other tricks (for example I think Skype leaked your IP for a while, don't know if they fixed it or he could possibly get it from an e-mail you sent, there are lots of tricks but I can't think of an easy one to do on Facebook itself).

Your IP isn't directly useful for hacking your Facebook account, but it's very useful if someone intends to hack your computer (and if your computer is hacked then the hacker knows all your passwords, including your Facebook passwords).

Most likely it's a bluff. If your router and computer are up to date (software-wise) even if someones knows your IP (which is dynamic, i.e. it can change at any moment though it doesn't need to and becomes useless to an attacker once it changes. You could power-cycle your router and would likely get a new one) and sensibly configured (for example changed the router password after receiving it, good) then it would likely be very expensive (time and money) to hack you.

I wouldn't spend a second thought on it (besides laughing about it) unless you know you insulted a serious hacker/computer scientist.

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  • One more way to get IP is from e-mail headers (even webmail services tend to include your IP into headers, to help fighting spammers). Jun 6, 2015 at 6:42
  • Thanks for that tip, I never would have thought that my IP would be included when using webmail services.
    – Nobody
    Jun 6, 2015 at 8:08
  • Not all ISPs cycle through IPs like you mention. I have had the same IP for months and cycling the modem doesn't change it.
    – schroeder
    Jun 6, 2015 at 16:16
  • True, it's essentially random in the sense that the ISP can do whatever they want (unless you pay them for a static IP). Clarified the answer.
    – Nobody
    Jun 6, 2015 at 18:01
  • Another way to get an IP address is to embed an image somewhere, such as in a forum signature, or in a pm, or in an email. Although I think gmail will copy the image to their own servers so the email method won't work if the person you are targeting uses gmail.
    – Buge
    Jun 7, 2015 at 3:11

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