IP trackers – types, security and purpose

There are primarily 2 different types of IP address trackers. Each has a specific purpose and is not interchangeable.

IP trackers types, security and purpose

  • Internet IP trackers (a.k.a. Wide Area Network or WAN). This type of tracker deals with IP addresses that identify machines that communicate directly with other computers on the World Wide Web.
    • An example of Internet-connected devices would be modems that are connected to a Wide Area Network and consequently assign an IP address to the connected devices. Internet type of IP trackers allow collecting basic information about computer users that access Internet websites (such as TraceMyIP), FTP servers, various remote-controlled hardware with different ports and protocols, and monitoring of devices that connect to each other using WAN. These trackers are often provided in form of a Software as a service (SaaS) and are hosted by independent servers. Software as a service (or SaaS) is a way of delivering applications over the Internet—as a service.
  • Intranet or local area IP trackers and scanners (a.k.a. Local Area Network or LAN). These IP tools allow monitoring and scanning for IP addresses located on an internal network such as LAN. IP scanning software can scan an entire IP range of a private local network and find all devices and their IP numbers, including each device’s status. The software can also provide basic statistics such as an IP address connection history and port stats.
    • Examples of the most popular internal network LAN scanners are Advanced IP Scanner, Angry IP Scanner, SoftPerfect Network Scanner, LizardSystems Network Scanner, B-Labs Bopup Scanner, MyLanViewer Network/IP Scanner.

Is IP tracking illegal?

Is IP tracking illegal?

IP trackers are tools. They are used for a specific purpose to obtain devices’ IP addresses. Their intended purpose is to provide a useful function to maintain and improve the device communications infrastructure.

Internet IP trackers that are used for collecting website visitor information provide useful information to website owners such as geographical statistics about the audience of the website, activity reports such as pages viewed, time of the day when most traffic occurs, information about submitted website forms, and security information that allows monitoring for a website abuse.

Website IP trackers are not malicious in nature and serve the purpose of private property monitoring (such as video surveillance of a merchandise store for example). Then here’s a rhetorical question – are the video cameras in a merchandise store are considered to be Illegal if they capture your detailed activity and facial ID?

Local area IP scanners are also tools that are essential in maintaining a private home or business network integrity, security, and connectivity.

Can these tools be used for illegal activity? Just like any tool, including a screwdriver, the trackers can be used for wrongful purposes. Just like a GPS system that provides a vehicle location, it can be used to monitor a vehicle location for a wrongful purpose.

On the other hand, keep in mind that knowing an IP address of a remote machine does not necessarily mean there is any risk to that target device or a user.  A remote machine would have to have malicious software already installed on it in most situations in order to gain access to the information on that device that’s say connected to a router.

So why is there so much talk about IP tracking and security?

In most cases, IP tracking dangers and security issues are exaggerated on purpose in order to sell security enhancement hardware and software. This is called reverse advertising.

Should I be worried about others using website trackers such as TraceMyIP to see my IP address?

Your IP address is always known to webmasters, regardless of whether TraceMyIP is used or not. Every single web server collects data on ALL connecting devices, including their full IP addresses. Furthermore, webmasters often use 2 or more different software packages to monitor website activity, including a collection of IP address statistics.

However, this is not considered to be a risk of any type. The real risk comes not from web IP trackers but from malicious websites that attempt to force or deceive an Internet website visitor to install malicious software on their computer in order to gain access to the data located on their computer(s).