Yesterday a hacker sent me an email claiming to have some sensitive information about me. The hacker said he knows that my password is wwcxcxcxcx. Which isn’t necessarily true. In my case I use this password on sites i don’t trust to protect my sensitive passwords. I decided to write this article on how to track the sender of the email, so that i can help others going through the same problem.
Never pay anything
Most importantly never pay anyone threatening you, it will only make things worse. In most cases, unless you are a celebrity the hacker doesn’t have any sensitive information on you and they’re just spamming everyone to get as much money as possible. And even if they had something on you, paying them once will enslave you for the rest of your life. So better track the sender and even contact local authorities if you had to.
How to track the sender of the hacking email on Gmail
Open Gmail on your desktop, on the right click on the 3 dots and click on Show original
As a result the real details of the sender will show. In this case Gmail is telling us the IP address the email came from. Also there is a notice that the email address used doesn’t belong to the IP. It means they used a scamming trick to hide their real email identity but you have the IP. In a nutshell, programmers can write programs to send emails using any fake identity they want. But Gmail and other email providers have the ability to verify the authenticity of the email. This is why in this case Gmail is warning us.
Moreover the hacking email came from Ip address 18.104.22.168. Ip addresses are like phone numbers they have to be linked to real people. To find out the owner of the IP, we use any ip look up tool, in my case I used https://whois.domaintools.com/.
Now thanks to the ownership information. I know the owner of the computer (server) which this email came from. This could be the hacker directly or someone who has more details about the identity of the sender. Local authorities can use this information to even shutdown the server. In my case I sent an email reporting abuse and demanding explanation how such email is being sent from their server.
In conclusion to sum up, never pay your hackers or reply to threats. There is always a way to track the sender and stop the problem before it becomes bigger. You can do it yourself, consult your IT department or report it to local authorities. There is always a way to protect yourself.