This is mostly technical information about the picture, but it includes all kinds of forensically relevant details, including the camera's make, model, and serial number, the user's name, the f-stop, shutter speed, and the exact time the photo was taken. When the photo is sent, or uploaded to a photo sharing service, all that EXIF data invisibly travels with the image. This is called geotagging, and the data is inserted along with the rest of the EXIF data.
This option may be turned on by default or set when someone is setting up their phone, and most people are unaware it even exists. Having the phone include location data with the image is an option that can be turned off, and the EXIF data is easily removed. But I've found that most people prefer the convenience of having their photos geotagged, or they don't care about it and then forget it exists. Viewing the EXIF data is also very easy, as there are literally hundreds of phone apps and viewers available, many for free.
Top 3 Ways to Trace Email and Get The IP Address
Non technical people are able to use them, so it doesn't require a forensic scientist or computer nerd to be the one to "crack the case". Among other things, a CDR Call Detail Record contains information about the cell tower used by the mobile phone at the time. Note that a cell tower can cover an area of about one square mile, or more.
In some countries, mobile operators might always be able to store in other countries, this may only be possible with a warrant the strength of the signal received by the closest cell towers. Under certain conditions, they can use triangulation in order to obtain a higher accuracy in the location from which the email was sent. In other countries, as I have already said, mobile operators might triangulate a user only after a warrant.
In this case, the police may obtain the current position of the phone as follows:. Another thing that is theoretically possible works like this.
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Every device which can be connected to the Internet, including a smartphone, has a MAC address. Now, if you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, the access point basically, the device which connects the users to an ADSL connection or whatever used by the Wi-Fi owner may choose to log the MAC addresses of its users and store them for some time. If this is legal no idea , and the log is stored for a long enough period of time, and if the mobile phone used that Wi-Fi network, the police may find the cell used by the mobile phone, ask the MAC address log to the access point owner this may require a warrant, I really don't know and confirm that the user actually used that Wi-Fi network.
Since a typical access point has a range of meters or so, this may narrow down the area. If the police are really lucky, they might even be able to identify the user who may use a phone whose owner is another person, e. Earlier answers already describe the process of using triangulation to pinpoint the location of a specific phone better than I could describe it. However there is very little said about whether the investigators can figure out which exact phone the mail was sent from.
In traditional mail services where the user run an email client on their device and use SMTP to send the email to the server, the server will usually include the IP address of the client in the mail headers. In cloud services where the user access email through a web browser or a vendor specific email app and use HTTP or HTTPS to send the email to the server, the server will usually not include the IP address of the client in the mail headers. In the later case it is very likely that with a warrant the investigator could get the IP address through the cloud service provider. But there is another question as to whether the IP address obtained in one of the two ways mentioned above will pinpoint the exact phone.
If your story is set somewhere between and it is quite likely that the internet provider is using carrier grade NAT due to shortage of IP addresses. And this can get in the way of figuring out which phone was connected to the server. The eventual shortage of IP addresses was recognized by network engineers in the early 90s.
By a solution was ready in the new IPv6 standard intended to replace the old IPv4 standard. But rather than working on the upgrade most internet providers have chosen to deploy carrier grade NAT instead, which will allow them to share a single IPv4 address between hundreds or thousands of users, though from the users perspective this will be a bit less reliable. In case the internet provider the phone is connected to is already upgraded to the new IPv6 protocol, but the mail service only supports IPv4, the internet provider most likely uses NAT Though there could be some interesting arguments between investigator, mail provider, and internet provider as to who is responsible for the inability to find out which exact phone the email originated from.
The internet provider could make a sound technical argument that the responsibility lies with the mail provider for not upgrading to IPv6. The mail provider would argue that they plan to do that a few months after everybody else have done it. If you are going to have specific IP addresses show up in your script, there are three ranges of IPv4 addresses and one range of IPv6 addresses, you can use without worrying about the addresses belonging to somebody in particular.
Speaking as a wireless telecom professional, the answer to your question depends on how precise you expect the location to be. To wrap it up, the idea that you can be precisely located is probably an invention of TV and Movies. Wireless network providers are limited in what info can be obtained due to privacy limitation and general limitation of the network itself.
How to Trace an Email Address
You should be able to be located to a specific town unless you are in a very rural area when a specific site covers several towns. In more urban areas you may be able to located within a 2 or 3 block area, but to pinpoint a specific address, it's not really feasible except during a real time emergency call when your device explicitly provides your specific location via GPS.
To clarify, the above assumes the device was not previously being monitored by law enforcement based on my interpretation of the question that the user was not specifically being monitored beforehand. In general, detailed location information is not provided to the network and is not stored so cannot be obtain after the fact by law enforcement. However, if a specific device was specifically being monitored by law enforcement with a warrant or legal right to do so , additional information may be extracted in real time.
How accurate this location is still related to the density of the network. But the concept of precision GPS-level accuracy in real-time is still not realistic and cannot be obtained through traditional means. Well, if he was already a suspect, you wouldn't need the email to begin with. The investigators could have been watching their mobile phone wanderabouts the whole time or another agency have already put this guy on watch, and thus the mobile has more data about it.
Assuming the email was sent through SMTP and not by webmail, the IP address from which it was sent would be directly available to the investigators show some Received: lines here. Additionally, they could gather more information from the email provider Google here , which could provide more information, in addition to other IP addresses from which he has connected, such as a phone number used for account recovery if they have been dumb , the registration date the day before, quite uninteresting , that the language used in the signup was German this would be useful , maybe they even a Google Maps search for an isolated place that would be ideal for hiding someone make them receive this when the guy is about to kill the poor boy ….
As stated before , geolocation is unreliable for determining where the suspect is albeit immediate, so I would expect them to query it anyway , but it can be used to know where it isn't. If the IP address is geolocated to the city where the crime was committed, that means the criminal sent it from there, not from Eastasia! That was probably a bluff. Once they have the IP address es , they will ask the Internet provider with a court order who was using that address at that time.
Maybe it turns out to belong to Starbucks. They may then quite confidently assume -something they could check by connecting themselves from there- that it was sent from the only Starbucks premise in town later they will find that the phone card was bought in a nearby supermarket.
Or it may be a local coffee shop that happens to host their website on the same IP address used to nat the connections on their free Wi-Fi not a good setup, but it was installed by the owner's nephew, and they only have an IP address. Thus, just entering the IP address in a browser they would learn the precise place from which it was sent.
With no delays by legal roundtrips. Knowing the store "from" which the email was sent may or may not be too useful. There could be interesting footage from security cameras. Perhaps he only went there once.
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Maybe he lives nearby, or even is able to connect from his home. Naturally, if the criminal connects repeatedly from there, they can put it on surveillance, as well as immediately going there as soon as a new email is received. Around ten years ago it was more likely. Back then, many free website-based e-mail providers including Yahoo added the IP address of the machine the e-mail was sent from to the e-mail header.
I didn't check what every provider does now, but I would guess most providers now put the IP of their server instead of the sender's machine into the header. This means, that if the sender is not very tech-savvy and does not actively try to hide by using proxies or whatever , and using a relatively low-quality free web-based service, it can happen that the sender machine's IP address is added to the e-mail header.
And, depending on the internet provider, it might be a static IP address easily linked to a specific household.
Much more likely to happen in the early 's than now. Firstly there is the originating IP address, usually not a hard problem at least as far as finding the originating mail server.
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Most of the better behaved servers will prepend this information in the email header before passing the mail on There are ways around this. Fire up your email and select to view headers or view entire message to get a flavour of what is in there. Now time was, people ran their own mail clients, and the headers would tell you their IP address more or less easily NAT being the slight issue , but these days most mail is sent from one of the big webmail companies, gmail, windows live, whatever, so actually getting the IP address of the senders terminal device is a second level of pain, possibly involving asking a web mail company to cough it up.
So, an IP we can possibly get from an email, if the companies in question either cooperate or can be beaten with a lawyer. Then you look up that IP address in the whois database and find it is in a mobile phone companies address space, so you contact the phone company, which is where things get interesting:. A cell phone can be located roughly given its IMSI number and there are ways to get that from a phone number , either from the cellular networks logs, or in real time if you have access to the SS7 network that the phone companies use for out of band call management There is even a command in the SS7 extensions for mobile call handling that pretty much exists to make intelligence gathering easier.
Doing this for historical data requires logs from the phone companies or requires you to be the sort of actor who can get the gear at the phone switches to store the SS7 data directly. Doing this live, just requires that you be on the SS7 network and that you have peering in place, and that can just be brought There are companies who offer cell phone tracking as a service. Accuracy depends on the ability to triangulate in the basic case, but gps can help and such which can actually be leveraged from the SS7 network because the security on the relevant queries is basically broken The request has a field that you control for the authorising party, but the data can be delivered elsewhere Now, you may be able to get a list of all those IMSIs and then try to match the one connected to gmail or whoever at exactly , but the judge if they are doing there job may feel that getting the whole list is too broad!
So, conceptually yes, but you need a cooperative phone company who are keeping the appropriate logs, a originating mail service who will cooperate and probably a judge who will sign the paperwork without reading it. I would however warn against trying to fake the talk about this sort of thing, it ALWAYS comes off as slightly 'wrong' to anyone who actually knows what they are doing This among other reasons is why CSI is unwatchable, and Clancy jarring to read. All previous answers are good with lots of technical details. Yet no one mentions the probabilities that the suspect may use Anonymous Remailer.
Though the service itself is a myth in Internet I never use it myself , it is possible in principle.
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And there are previous cases against it. In the ideal situation, the suspect may construct a mailing-chain of anonymous remailers from multiple countries. As stated in previous answers, legal issues are the main problems. Think about that you have to crack, not only a specific email company, but a dozen of them, in countries with different rules and regulations on data safety. It could be almost impossible to retrieve all the relevant data:. In September , an anonymous user posted the confidential writings of the Church of Scientology through the Penet remailer.
The Church once again demanded that Julf turn over the identity of one of its users, claiming that the poster had infringed the Church's copyright on the confidential material. The Church was successful in finding the originating e-mail address of the posting before Penet remailed it, but it turned out to be another anonymous remailer: the alpha. Yet it comes with a price: less reliable delivery and maybe lost of 2-way communication. But in certain cases this restriction maybe not so important.
So this is a dead end. The IP ranges are normally assigned randomly to the Mobile Network Provider and relate to that company's locations - not the device.