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Chem_Engr

Somebody is using my IP address for illegal transactions

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Company X, who is a publisher of reading material, has contacted me recently alleging that my laptop's IP address has come up in illegal transactions involving the sell of their copyrighted material on the internet. These transactions have been going on for a couple of years, the most recent being one last month.

My only involvement with Company X is that I had purchased some of their material on eBay in 2004 from Company Y. I later came to know that Company Y had sold me an illegal copy of the material. I was in Chicago when I had made that purchase. For the last three years, I am living in San Francisco area. I have been using the same laptop involved in this transaction since 2002.

I would appreciate if somebody could tell me how somebody could get hold of my laptop's IP address and make these illegal transactions. What should I do to stop my future involvement in these illegal transactions? My knowledge in this matter is quite limited. I am using a wireless router to connect to the internet.

Thanks.

Chem_Engr

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This has nothing at all to do with the Forum section How to use .... Instructions, Tutorials > SpamCop Forum Descirbed as;

System parts & Functions not fully explained under an existing Help menu / option .... Questions still needed to be asked about How to use/do something are to be posted into that function's Forum section.

Moving to the Lounge with this Post.

My knowledge in this matter is quite limited. I am using a wireless router to connect to the internet.

Chem_Engr

Limited knowledge is a problem you're going to have to work on. For example, simply using any of the search tools provided here to look for "wireless router" would bring up countless previous discussions dealing with the issues of the security issues involved with these devices. Seeing as how you skipped over reading the details here of how and where to Post your query, it woudn't be too hard to surmize that you've not even looked at the manuals that came with the wireless router involved.

IP Addresses is simply How the Internet Works. Your computer has an IP Address that either you or your ISP assigned to it. Although, in reality, with a wireless router involved, this would probably be carrying the IP Address in question. (And even that's a bit of a lie, as the actual IP Address in question would actually be assigned to the device that connects you to your ISP, be it a cable or DSL modem.) That you moved from Chicago to San Francisio wouold imply that you changed ISPs, which would also suggest that any IP Address invoved between those two timeframes would be quite different. So technically, there's no real correlation between those two timeframes.

There is much information provided in the SpamCop FAQ and the Wiki provided here. As you're suggesting that you are an "Engineer" I'm suggesting you go back to those days of learning and take some time to get educated on this new subject. Much cheaper than the bruising you're going to get by having to pay a lawyer to get educated in the same matter in order to defend your alleged lawsuit.

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No doubt an admin will shortly come by to move this message somewhere else on the board (probably to the lounge), but in the meantime:

Normally you get an IP address from an internet provider -- your home provider gives you one, your office might give you another when you take your machine to work, your hotel will give you one of theirs when on travel, and Starbucks might give you one when you are using their hot spot. Each of these will be different. Even stay-at-home computers can change their IP addresses every few days when their DHCP leases expire and the provider deals them another address from the deck. I, too, have a wireless setup in my home, and my ISP gives an address only to my wireless router (my computers are on a private network administered by the router).

In some cases (proxying), many computers can "hide behind" a single IP address; if everyone at my company (for example) went to some website, the server would only see that one address and might not be able to easily distinguish individual users.

In other words, we can't usually match an IP address to a specific machine -- only if we know the address, and the exact time and date of interest, can we get a provider to look in its logs and tell us which of its users was using that address at that time (and then usually only if we enlist a lawyer or a judge to help us).

Your MAC (Ethernet) address is somewhat a different story. By definition, it is tightly bound to a particular machine, and is (supposed to be) unique. I know that some software vendors use MAC addresses as part of their licensing scheme to lock a particular app in with a particular machine; if the software is cracked and redistributed by a pirate, there's a possibility that this original MAC address could be recovered somehow, and the software publisher could look this up in its registration data and find out whose copy had been cracked. Even at that, however, it might be difficult to prove that that user was actually culpable for anything.

-- rick

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Hi Chem_Engr,

As Wazoo and Rick have said (there are a number of possibilities) in the usual course of events you will have appeared as a number of different (dynamic) IP addresses at different times. I have had at least 590 different ones since I have been visiting this forum. Only my (several) ISPs would know what address I had at what time - and I have reason to believe that even they don't have absolutely accurate records although their revenue depends on it (well, a tiny bit of it). Anyway, your ISP is the most likely source of tying your specific computer to a specific IP address however, with a wireless router, it could be that others are hitching a ride on your connection.

Your ISP wouldn't divulge your account detail (name, address) to other parties unless required to by law - and if there was actual evidence of illegal activity on your account they would most likely be inclined to terminate your account for breach of the Terms of Service. You should talk to them. Your current IP address and other details can be found (by you only) through any number of helpful website services - http://whatismyipaddress.com/ is one such at random.

Steve

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I would appreciate if somebody could tell me how somebody could get hold of my laptop's IP address and make these illegal transactions. What should I do to stop my future involvement in these illegal transactions? My knowledge in this matter is quite limited. I am using a wireless router to connect to the internet.

It's not your laptop that would have a "static" IP it's your provider that has assigned you it.

Most likely your wireless router is insecure or your password is known

Not sure what your Laptop Operating systems is? But if it's Windows (XP on) you need to look at my Signature

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Thanks to all for the responses. I was surprised to find out that there was no connection between the current events and the one back in 2004. I checked my wireless router and noticed that the firewall was disabled, although I have been using 64 bit WEP security mode. I had disabled the firewall a few months back to connect my blu-ray player to the internet. I have enabled the firewall now and will look into the other suggestions posted here.

Is it possible to look into the logs of my router and see who was responsible for this? I understand you are not lawyers, however, if the Company X doesn't believe me and comes after me, how strong will be my defense based on the facts reported here?

(some other information - Company X obtained my personal information by issuing a court order to my ISP. And my OS is Windows XP).

Thanks again in appreciation.

Chem_Engr

Edited by Chem_Engr

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Thanks to all for the responses. I was surprised to find out that there was no connection between the current events and the one back in 2004. I checked my wireless router and noticed that the firewall was disabled, although I have been using 64 bit WEP security mode. I had disabled the firewall a few months back to connect my blu-ray player to the internet. I have enabled the firewall now and will look into the other suggestions posted here.

Is it possible to look into the logs of my router and see who was responsible for this? I understand you are not lawyers, however, if the Company X doesn't believe me and comes after me, how strong will be my defense based on the facts reported here?

(some other information - Company X obtained my personal information by issuing a court order to my ISP. And my OS is Windows XP).

  1. 64 bit WEP?
    WEP in itself is broken (has been for years), you should be using WPA or WPA2 for everything wireless. If you have devices that are not capable of supporting WPA (these would be cheap routers & cards from more than 3 years ago) you should get rid of them, OR, get a new wireless router, run some alternate firmware (DD-WRT / Open WRT / etc) and set those wireless items off on a special network solely for them and limit their trusted relationship in your network (yes even if only for your home). (or running 2 routers, one for the "wep" only devices and the other for your laptop which should be upgraded to use WPA/2)
  2. How is it not connected?
    I don't see the "not connected" to 2004. Same company that owns copyrighted works, coming back after all this time doesn't suggest its not connected, on the contrary, suggests they have the information, they've been tracking the source, and it suggests you haven't taken corrective (enough) action to clear yourself.
    Case in point, did you remove the material? Did the material come with an "e-reader" application? have you confirmed that you can find no root kits, trojans, etc. installed in your laptop which would be the primary source of someone using *your* ip address to continue to sell/offer up this material which Company X has yet again, tracked back to you on a completely different ISP and location than from 2004?

If you've not completely wiped and reinstalled everything on your laptop, you're suspect. Using 64bit wep and using WEP at all ... you're suspect. Admitting that they've used legal means to identify you (the ISP user with ip address Z) means they've got you and its quite likely you're still in some way abusing Company X's rights .... even if you don't know you're doing it.

With DMCA violation notices, most companies are very clear with the last seen date, time, connection information, etc.. I would be surprised if the detail they'd given you is any less. That by itself should give you reason to suspect your laptop really isn't "yours" and probably hasn't been for some time.

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I understand you are not lawyers, however, if the Company X doesn't believe me and comes after me, how strong will be my defense based on the facts reported here?

You are absolutely correct that we are not lawyers.

If you believe that this is a genuine legal challenge that will go further (there are many law firms acting with bullying tactics in this field but with little chance to win a case) then you should speak to a lawyer who specialises in this type of case. You will probably need a technical expert who can provide an analysis of the technical issues in a form that the courts can understand.

We, here, are enthusiastic amateurs and can't give legal advice. But I wouldn't say you have any defence based on what has been said here. There are too many gaps in the information provided to prove on the balance of probabilities one way or the other.

Andrew

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