An IP address is an identification number used on the Internet and local networks to identify users computers. You could think of it as a telephone number or address but for systems instead of telephones and homes. Their format is of our numbers with a maximum value of 255 separated by periods. An example would be: 192.168.4.50
Internet service providers will assign their customers an IP address upon connection but not all providers will assign the same address each time a connection is made. There are therefore two IP address assignments: Static and dynamic.
A dynamic IP address is one that is constantly changing either at timed intervals or on any connection change. A static address on the other hand never changes even when the user disconnects and re-connects. Although neither address type is easy to track to an individual the static address is by its nature easier as it never changes. That address is more ‘glued’ to a user than a dynamic one which may be assigned to multiple people a day – or even per hour.
In the instance of dynamic IP addresses the only realistic way of tracking the address to a person is via the Internet service providers records and this can only be done legally through court order or other legal measure dependent on the country involved.
A static address is easier to link to a geographical area, company, ISP or organization. Therefore through other investigative means it can be traced to an individual. An address in isolation is very difficult to work with but having a persons name for example will aid in tracking a person to their ore exact location.
As an example of this an IP address can be registered under a company called Acme Industries and you know the person linked to this address has the name Geoff. These two facts alone narrow the search considerably and it wouldn’t take much more to find the person you’re looking for.
Having said all this tracking a person down via their IP is difficult and time-consuming with many variables and unseen obstacles. Too such an extent that in reality the chances of someone going to the lengths of tracing someone in this way is minimal to none.