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Find location of IM user w.o. instant messaging.

Posted on 2004-09-16
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Last Modified: 2008-03-10
Can the location of a person using a Known Instant Message username be found if they have not sent me an Instant Message ?  Can the email address of associated with the IM Username be found ?
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Question by:zporbn
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12 Comments
 
LVL 49

Accepted Solution

by:
sunray_2003 earned 672 total points
ID: 12080319
Which instant messenger are you talking abt..
Without chatting with the person , It is not possible to know the location where it came from ..

Email address depends on whether the user has added to the account or not , otherwise difficult or possibly NO
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LVL 34

Assisted Solution

by:PsiCop
PsiCop earned 664 total points
ID: 12080788
E-Mail address and IM username are in NO way related. For example, I have an AOL IM username, but I've never had an AOL E-Mail address. I feel dirty enuf with just the IM username.

To get more specific, we need to know WHICH of the many IM services you're talking about.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:complexymetron
ID: 12082220
Hi!

As sunray and PsiCop already said, everyone could enter anonymous data into their IM contact data. So you're able to enter any email and any location into any IM account - there even needn't have to be a connection between IM user and email at all.

> Can the email address of associated with the IM Username be found ?

Depens on the IM service. Some, like ICQ, allow for that if the user entered and flagged their email-address as "public available data".

> Can the location of a person using a Known Instant Message username be found if they have not sent me an Instant Message ?

You think about: finding an user and get his location? The answer is partially the same as for the email-address: if the user provided his location in his contact info, then you might be able to get the data. But those data, like the email-address, is given voluntarily - and might be wrong.

The only way to get even near to the exact location of a person using IM (or internet services in common) is checking and tracing their IP address. This is the only address that's mapped one-to-one for a computer a person is using - but only for this session, as IP addresses tend to change very often (dynamically assigned on dial-up).
And even that won't work, when the person of interest uses a computer in an internet cafe.
And first of all, the person has to get in contact with you directly (like direct filetransfer) - most of chatting is relayed over an IM server, which hides the true IP of IM users to others.

The internet is built around anonymity - its hard (even for the police) to track people.
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Author Comment

by:zporbn
ID: 12085088

 Hi this is zporbn

  The messenger service is MSN.
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:PsiCop
ID: 12085280
I'll bow out - never used MSN.
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LVL 65

Assisted Solution

by:SheharyaarSaahil
SheharyaarSaahil earned 664 total points
ID: 12086276
>> Can the location of a person using a Known Instant Message username be found

an Instant Message username can be different from the on-screen name which a person chooses to Disaply him\her !!
if we know a screen name of a person, we can search the nickname(screen name) on MSN Search, and if that user has given his location, u can see it !!
But thru Instant Messaging nickname, we cannot know the location or details of a person, coz its only for representing urself when u are Instant Messaging with another person using MSN IM service !!

>> Can the email address of associated with the IM Username be found ?
there is NO way.... even if u goto a MSN Profile search page, and wanted to e-mail to a specific person, MSN will not show u his\her email address,,,, it will just ask u to type ur message and then hit Send, that' all u can do !!

so, anything else :)
0
 

Author Comment

by:zporbn
ID: 12089423
an Instant Message username can be different from the on-screen name which a person chooses to Disaply him\her !!
if we know a screen name of a person, we can search the nickname(screen name) on MSN Search, and if that user has given his location, u can see it !!

 [  I already knew this.]

But thru Instant Messaging nickname, we cannot know the location or details of a person, coz its only for representing urself when u are Instant Messaging with another person using MSN IM service !!

 [ why does www.Abika.com  state they can locate someone based on IM username?  In theory one must be able to "watch" for IM somehow in network traffic ? ]
 

>> Can the email address of associated with the IM Username be found ?
there is NO way.... even if u goto a MSN Profile search page, and wanted to e-mail to a specific person, MSN will not show u his\her email address,,,, it will just ask u to type ur message and then hit Send, that' all u can do !!

  [ ok.  I believe u can't find email address from MSN IM username .    maybe .  ]
so, anything else :)
0
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:complexymetron
ID: 12089515
I've read some pieces of their website:

> In addition to utilizing expert spider techniques, search of many databases such as warranty databases, consumer
> databases, registration databases, service provider databases, web based email databases,  enables locating the
> information you seek.

> Every time anyone connects to the Internet to communicate via email or Instant Messaging, they are leaving their IP
> fingerprint and ISP domain name behind. Often times this reveals what city and state that person lives in.

They're using a multi-angled view on an IM-user - which was to be expected. There's no way of finding out those information easily - like in a way google works. The process often includes something known as "social engineering" - meaning working the subject psychologically for giving away information voluntariliy (e.g. "phising"). Also some hacking might be included, maybe even watching the packets directly on the net to determine senders IP addresses and such.

IP addresses are tracable - but only to a certain point. You could retrieve, e.g., the provider and with that information you could retrieve the rough location (e.g. city or region) where that IP was used. But to get further, you need more data (like the connection log from the ISP).

It's not impossible, but very hard work.
0
 
LVL 65

Expert Comment

by:SheharyaarSaahil
ID: 12089527
I have visited that site.... Do u REALLY trust it,,, i mean does it look to u LEGAL ??

to trace a person's personal information from his\her email or IM username, we have to know abt its computer IP address,,,,, and tracing another person's IP address witthout his\her knowledge comes into Hacking catogery !!!
so...... :)
0
 
LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:PsiCop
ID: 12103420
Like complexymetron and SheharyaarSaahil, I am very suspicious of the website you mention. Just because they *claim* they can do that doesn't mean they can.

Yes, if you are able to "tap" the networks of the various IM providers, you can "watch" the traffic. IM traffic is client-server - that is, if I am going to IM you, my IM client sends the info to the IM server, which then sends it to your client. So, in order to "watch" IM traffic, the only practical place to "watch" it is at the IM server, else you're trying to watch a bazillion clients all over the Internet.

And to do that, you either have to hack the service provider's IM servers, or have an agreement with them that lets you access their user DB.

Frankly, I think its a buncha smoke.
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