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Jess M.
Jess M., Computer Support Specialist
Category: Email
Satisfied Customers: 6131
Experience:  Computer Software Support Specialist for more than 10 years
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Please help me figure this out. On Monday when I was out of

Customer Question

Hi! Please help me figure this out. On Monday when I was out of town I got an email from Microsoft saying that there had been 12 successful logins into my Hotmail account. I captured the IP address (all the same) and the location (near Alexandria VA) and I reported these issues on some (as I was working from my phone) as "not Me". I also reset my password.
What I'm trying to find out is, How can I find out who is behind this? I have gone to ARIN to look up the IP address and that didn't tell me much. General wisdom says I need to get a subpoena; which I am willing to do; but before I do that, I'd like to know with some reasonableness who this is (as I have my suspicions and this could be a part of a very huge lawsuit that is in-play). So..... I don't know where to go next. HELP!!!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Email
Expert:  Jess M. replied 1 year ago.

Hi Christie, welcome and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I am glad to assist you today.

I am very sorry about your issues. Unfortunately, with the data and information you provided now, there is no way of telling who is the person behind this hacking attempt. You can only guess, you can only enumerate educated guesses with these assumptions:

  1. This could be some IT person "paid for" by someone who has interest on your email account
  2. This could be someone with personal interest on your email account

However, using the information you got from the IP address, you can narrow down your search to the CITY or ISP level.

Please allow me to explain something about this IP thing.

When some is using the internet to do anything, his or her LOCAL IP address IS NOT visible to the world. What is visible is the IP address provided by his or her ISP (Internet Service Provider) to his modem or router. So, if someone like you is investigating as to WHO was trying to access your account, the IP address that you will get IS NOT the actual IP address of his computer or his phone. It is the IP address of the modem or router that was provided to him by his ISP.

Another problem that you will encounter when tracking down an IP address is when the culprit is using a public wifi or hotspot to connect to the internet and to do the hacking attempt. One example is coffee shop like Starbucks which provides free wifi to customers. When someone connected to Starbucks was trying to hack your email, the IP address that you will get in your investigation will be the IP address of Starbucks, and you will drill down further from there.

And you are right, you can only get the right and actual information through a subpoena. Here is a sample scenario:

  1. Someone was trying to hack your hotmail account but unsuccessful, so you were notified about the failed login attempts
  2. You viewed the "IP addresses" listed by Hotmail and they are just 1 IP address (if Hotmail reported several IPs, then the process will be the same)
  3. You use an IP to Location tracking like http://whatismyip.com and you will see there the information about the IP up to the CITY and ISP level
  4. The ISP servers have the actual logs as to who among its clients are using which IP address at a given time. However, the ISP will NOT simply give out this information for reasons of privacy since they too needs to protect the privacy of their clients.
  5. So you will now force the ISP to release your required information through a court order or subpoena. Now the problem is, if the hacker was connected to Starbucks when he attempted to hack, it will be a broader search. The ISP through a court order or subpoena will only report that the IP was from Starbucks located at xxx address, and was done at XXX date. But if the IP address points to a home or corporate client of the ISP, then the search will be narrow and getting to know the actual culprit will be very possible.

This process though can take some time and requires a lot of money. But at the moment, what I can highly recommend is to secure your account to make it hacker-proof. Here are the things that you can do to your Hotmail account, and I suggest that you use a computer to do these:

  1. Change your password ***** a STRONG password. A strong password ***** ***** (8 characters and above) and use a combination of small, caps, letters, numbers and punctuation marks.
  2. Add your security information like your alternate email address and your mobile phone
  3. Enable 2-step verification to add another layer of protection. But this is very critical since even you will NOT be able to access your own account if messed up the process.

These security options are accessible through the following steps:

  1. Login to your Hotmail account using a web browser on your computer
  2. When signed in, click on your avatar or icon at the top right of your Hotmail page, then click on Account Settings. Or you can click on the link below:
    https://account.microsoft.com/?lang=en-US
  3. Enter your password ***** to proceed. Hotmail prompts for the password ***** ensure that you are the real owner of the account.
  4. In the page that you get, click on Security & Privacy link at the top. Or just click on this link:
    https://account.microsoft.com/privacy
  5. Under Account security, click on "More security settings"
  6. There you shall see the various security options to toughen your account security so that hackers can't access your account 100%.

I hope that helped.

Please remember to rate my service positively (3-5 stars/faces) if this helped. Tips are always highly appreciated!

If you need further assistance, please do not rate me negatively with 1 or 2 faces. Instead, please reply to me so that I can help you further.

Thank you!

Best regards,
Jess