IP tracer tools allow you to learn more about an Internet user based on their IP address. It's a form of data enrichment: you start with a single data point (an IP address) to collect additional information. There are dozens of different IP sniffing tools out there. Some check proxies, while others look to see if an address appears on a blacklist. IP tracking is also known as IP address sniffing, IP lookup, IP checkers, or even IP analytics.
Without going into technical details, here is the type of information you can get after enriching the data of an IP trace:
A simple IP ping test will reveal whether or not the address is receiving data. In simple terms, it is about checking if the IP address is valid.
The ping test response time should be fast (less than 10 ms). Anything longer than 100ms could show that there is a problem with that connection, including the fact that it is traversing proxies and nodes (see below).
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Hundreds of email servers around the world collaborate to maintain lists of fraudulent, dangerous, or spammy IP addresses. These IPs are collected in the DNSBL (Domain Name BlackList) and RBL (RealTime Blacklist), among other lists.
It's easy enough to check if an IP address appears on any of these lists. If they appear, it should be cause for alert as they have probably been used to send spam emails in the past.
Proxy detection lets you know if a user is hiding their IP address using a proxy, VPN (Virtual Private Network) or a Tor node. These types of connections are designed to bypass geographic restrictions or keep the user anonymous.
Although it does not necessarily point to fraudulent activity, this should increase the risk levels of dealing with this user. Some users connect through proxies for privacy reasons. However, others hide their IPs to deliberately mask their true identity online.
Every IP address is connected to a hostname and a domain. By using a reverse DNS lookup, you can query DNS servers for a PTR (pointer) record, which stores IP addresses.
This works for two reasons:
Finding out the hostname helps with another important feature of IP sniffing: geolocation.
IP addresses are issued by internet service providers or Internet Service Providers (ISPs), who randomly select them from their range. That range of potential IP addresses is tied to an approximate geographic location. By doing a quick check, you can get an idea of where someone is connecting from.
Please note that location accuracy varies from one ISP to the next. Things get even more complicated with mobile device IPs, which can change dynamically as the user connects through different mobile towers, which can lead to one IP being assigned to multiple devices and real users at the same time. , when the server workload is heavy. You can read about this in our guide on mobile proxies.
Still, getting an idea of a user's geolocation has many advantages, even if you should have reservations about the results.
It is possible to pinpoint a place in the world with incredible precision, but it is also possible to be wrong by a large margin, especially when dealing with people who do not want to be located.
WHOIS is a response protocol designed to identify the owners of an IP address. Every IP address on the internet is managed by one of five internet registry organizations:
This is useful for confirming geolocation information you already have or for identifying data discrepancies. It can also point to a website owner, since you can search WHOIS services by name, which is an additional data point to work with.
Proxy servers and the computers that function as servers tend to have at least one port open. If you know what port this is, you can identify the server and its risk rate.
For example, we know that some rogue proxy providers resell hacked SSH connections where port 22 is always open.
If you can identify that port 22 is open, you can start raising alerts. It may not necessarily mean you're dealing with a bad guy, but it's useful information to have as part of your digital profiling process.
Disclaimer: Everything written in this article was obtained from internet research, including user reviews. We didn't have time to test all the tools manually.
SEON is a complete fraud prevention platform. It comes with a selection of search tools, including a powerful IP tracking module. In terms of reviews, you get a mix of proprietary data collection methods with common reviews like:
But where SEON really shines is in its ability to perform these reviews at scale via API calls, delivering results in less than 200 milliseconds. For companies that need to track thousands of IP addresses, this is the best way to get as much information as possible, as quickly as possible.
SEON IP Tracker is also fully integrated with other fraud detection features such as:
This is just one module in an end-to-end fraud prevention system, but you can also use the module to track IPs on its own. Also, this works particularly well through the lightweight Google Chrome plugin for quick manual revisions.
Too sophisticated for basic reviews: SEON is by no means difficult to use, but it is a specialist tool that will only be made the most of by risk managers.
You get a 30-day free trial and a contract that can be canceled at any time. The cost starts from $99 per month.
The IPLocation.io website is a veritable treasure trove of IP trackers. In it you will find, in no particular order: blacklist database checker, a ping tool, IP range calculators, IP to decimal converter and much more.
The best thing is that all these tools are available for free. Simply copy the IP address and paste it into the appropriate tool page. You can access all the different search tools in the sidebar, plus useful information about how they work, including technical details.
The only drawback? Well, IPLocation.io is not set up to run large batches of IP addresses. There is no API, so you will have to look elsewhere to integrate its results into your business intelligence reports.
One patch at a time: You can't send a list of IP addresses or connect to the service through an API.
MaxMind offers two IP-related services, including a fraud prevention API for risky transactions and its GeoIP databases. We'll focus on the latter, as it provides excellent intelligence from an IP address for personalization, advertising, digital rights management, and compliance, among others.
GeoIP databases are currently used by more than 5,000 businesses around the world. It is estimated to cover an impressive 99.9999% of all IP addresses in use. The database is updated weekly and has had an excellent uptime of 99.98% since 2002.
The database service is accessible via API, manual file upload or web service.
Keep in mind that pricing can be a bit confusing as there are six different types of MaxMind offers. However, it does include a free Lite version of tools that you can try to see if they help you with your IP tracing investigations.
You need to contact MaxMind to find out, although there is a limited free version.
IPQualityScore, or IPQS as it is sometimes called, offers a wide variety of IP sniffers, including Tor detection, IP reputation check, and IP blacklist checks.
For cybersecurity experts, you can also get what they call “threat intelligence feeds”, which connect to their own honeypot network, designed to identify cybersecurity threats.
Once in the IPQualityScore ecosystem of products, you can also look at other fraud prevention tools such as bot detection, email verification, chargeback fraud detection, and dark web monitoring.
Opaque Pricing: Although they have a generous free offer, it is difficult to determine how much it will cost your business to use IPQualityScore.
The company operates through a freemium model, but the payment plans are hidden from view. You need to contact them to get a quote.