Each computer or cell phone which is connected to the internet using internet protocol has a unique string of numbers separated by dots, which represents the address of the computer or cell phone. This address is called the IP address (Internet protocol address).
Our unique IP address can be viewed by all the apps or websites that we access using the internet.
So to get somebody’s IP address, You need to be either connected to their computer or cellphone via a peer-to-peer chat client or if not on a peer-to-peer chat client, we will need to use a 3rd party website to grab the IP address of the user.
Facebook’s Messenger app and many other popular messaging apps are not peer-to-peer chat clients. Thus I have divided this article into 2 parts.
In the first part, we will discuss how to get the IP address on Facebook messenger, and in the second part, we will see how to find the IP address of the chat user you are connected to via peer-to-peer chat clients.
So let’s begin.
Part 1: Getting somebody’s IP address on the Messenger App
“Some guy with a fake profile is threatening me on Facebook Messenger. He called some of my friends fat, racist and comments bad things on my pictures. I have a feeling it’s one of the people I know. Can Facebook trace the IP Address of this person? I’ve contacted Facebook but they are slow responders. I need to know who this person is. Please help!”
I often get these kinds of messages in my Inbox. It’s the Internet, the most public of public places. It’s completely your fault for adding some “random dude” that you don’t know.
Today Facebook gives you a wide range of privacy options wherein you can completely control who can see your stuff and who cannot. But hey we always fail to identify fake profiles and get lured by their offers, display pictures, etc.
Anyway, let’s move on to discuss how you can grab or obtain the IP address of any user over the messenger app.
As I said before, Messaging apps such as Messenger will never expose your IP address. I.e Your IP address is invisible to the person you message, but if-and-when you click on a link in a message, the website you sent it to has access to your IP address.
Websites like grabify.link are of great use and are specifically built to grab IP addresses by creating trackable links.
The modus operandi is this, We will create a trackable link (which when clicked will redirect the user to a genuine website). Send this link to the fake user through the messenger app and ask him/her to click on it. Once he/she clicks the links, We have their details like IP, ISP, Cell phone model, etc.
Here are the steps:
Step 1. Goto grabify.link, Enter any URL in the text box that says “Enter a valid URL or tracking code” and click “Create URL”
Step 2. On the next page, you will get your Tracking link info and Logs. Bookmark this page. The row that says “New URL” is the tracking link that you need to send to your Messenger user. Alternatively, You can also change this URL’s domain name. Just click “Change domain/Make a custom link”. Refer to the Screenshots below.
Step 3. Just keep checking/refreshing the page you bookmarked after a few hours (when the user sees your Message on the Messenger app). Once they click on it, you will get detailed information about them as shown below.
Part 2: Finding the IP address on peer-to-peer chat clients.
Unlike Facebook messenger where our messages are routed through Facebook’s server, In peer-to-peer chat, we are directly connected to the opposite person i.e peer-to-peer connection.
To get the IP of the person on chat, you just need to analyze the network connections of your computer or cell phone. And for this, we will make use of the command prompt or Terminal.
NOTE: If you are on a cellphone, you can use the Termux terminal app for Android and Termius for iOS.
The command we are making use of is NETSTAT (Full details here).
While active on chat client, open up your favorite Terminal app and enter netstat -f command.
This command will show you all the active TCP connections with IP addresses.
Here’s an example of what you might see:
It’s pretty easy to figure out which IP address you are connected to via chat app once you find the name of the chat client apps name in the list.
Next, We will see how to trace the IP address that you have found out.
Tracing IP address of the user to find his/her location
To do so we will be using an IP tracer service.
Go to https://www.ipaddress.com/ip-lookup and paste the IP address in the box that says “lookup this IP or website”.
This will show you the exact location of the user along with his ISP details. In the location MAP Just click on “click for big IP address location” in the big picture you can actually zoom in.
You can also contact their ISP and request them to reveal more details of the user using that IP address. Good luck with that.