Have you ever wondered about the way how Police can track an address when they require to catch a criminal?
If they only have a mobile number then it becomes slightly difficult to pin-point the location. It’s not impossible but it just gets difficult.
But if Police have an IP address then it becomes much easier. In fact, it is easier to catch a stupid cybercriminal.
No. It doesn’t go anything like a typical CID episode.
“Daya, location ka pata lagao”
After a few seconds: “Sir, the target is behind Shah Rukh Khan’s bungalow”
Daya and ACP reach the exact house and slam the door of the criminal. Meanwhile, Daya slaps and the chair starts rotating in the CID headquarter.
Can Your Phone Number Help Track Your Exact Location?
Your phone number does not point out the exact details of your location. It is a different case if GPS is actively working or an application is providing the details.
So, how do police track the location by knowing the contact number?
The concept of triangulation is used for this purpose. I have mentioned about triangulation in the previous article. Three satellites determine your location roughly.
Refer for more details | How Google Maps works?
Visit that page, read it and return again. It is related and more detailed.
Similarly, mobile networks use the concept of triangulation. Three adjoining networks are present and they together determine the area of that device.
This clearly means that the phone number can never trace the exact location. It can only provide a specific range of location.
After reaching in that particular zone of range, manual searching needs to be done.
So, what if there is a huge society with multiple buildings having hundreds of floors and flats? Then it becomes next to impossible.
If the phone is off then nobody can track it. Sure, the police can know the location where the phone was active last time. But if the criminals move after switching it off, it is again next to impossible to track the live location.
How Can Police Track IP Address of a Criminal?
Every online device has a unique IP (Internet Protocol) Address. The cybercriminal’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) can easily provide the details of its users. If the crime is taking place on social media, these social media platforms provide the details as well.
[Facebook got 49,000 requests for user data from the Indian government in 2019: Business Insider Report]
So yes, it is completely possible to know the exact pinpoint location of any person on the internet.
Let’s say that a person is involved in cybercrime and the police need to find the location of this person.
They will search for the IP Address. Various websites have all the data and tracking about the IP Addresses. Once the police get the IP Address, they will approach the ISP.
Who is an ISP? It can be anyone who provides you the internet service. It can be Jio, VI, Airtel or any local internet Service Provider.
Also Read | Choosing Internet Service Providers
These Internet Service Providers provide IP Addresses to its users. Hence, they keep a track of each and every IP address that they assign. Moreover, your ISP knows everything about the websites you visit, the things you surf on the Internet, and various details. Even your contact details.
The police will simply ask about the physical address of this IP and the ISP will readily provide it too.
This is when our beloved Daya will break down the door and slap the cyber-criminal. You are not shown the process that happens in-between because it is boring! 😉
Do you want to know how you can save yourself from cybercriminals? You might like my Free Ebook ‘Digital Nexus’ where I discussed the safety measures against all types of attacks.
But this IP address can be spoofed too. Most of the hackers hide their address and remain anonymous.
But how do they do it?
Check Out | Can I Remain Anonymous by using Incognito, VPN, or TOR?