Asking the Experts: How to Track a Hacker or Unknown Sender

Tracking a hacker, or someone who sends an email can be tricky.

It’s what South Burlington Police are dealing with right now, after emails threatening students and staff put the high school on lockdown twice this week.

“Internet crimes are very detailed, and can take a great deal to follow up on, and we’re working through it one piece at a time, but it leads us somewhere else and then we have to go there,” said Detective Ron Bliss.

So, we asked the experts about it. Duane Dunston teaches cyber security at Champlain College.

He says if the sender uses an anonymous network such as Tor, your identity and location can be hidden. “Because with Tor you’re hopping through multiple computers around the world.

So someone can literally be sitting right next to you, and they can send you a fake email that pretends to be from you and they’re sitting right beside you and you wouldn’t even know that,” said Dunston.

Dunston says it’s all about what kind of hacker the person is.

“What kind of process did he go through to hide themselves? They could have hopped on a wireless network and sent it from there. And trying to figure out who sent it from that point is almost impossible,” said Dunston.

He adds backtracking to the source isn’t so simple, and depending on who’s behind it, there are still ways you can find the person without getting too technical.

“The people who are behind these attacks brag to someone else, and often that’s one of the downfalls. When all other technical things fail, someone bragging about it, and then someone overhearing it, or someone saying, ‘Oh you know, that’s not right so I’m going to go to law enforcement,’ or they go to someone who can help take action against it,” said Dunston.


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