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Getting an ISP to help in tracking internet activity is difficult, as internet providers adhere to strict privacy guidelines. There may be other options.

Hi Leo. I was hacked about a year ago. There were some comments written on a forum with my name, but it certainly wasn't me who wrote these comments. Can I still prove it? Do you think my ISP still has the records about who hacked into my line, which is supposed to be authenticated?

In this excerpt from Answercast #7, I explore what is necessary to get an ISP to help you track internet activity from your connection and then look at other options for sorting out what happened.

Does your ISP have the data?

I honestly don't know. This kind of information varies dramatically from one ISP to the next. Whether they keep it all (or how long they keep it) is one of those things that only they know. Typically, they don't share that information. A year is kind of a long time. I suppose it's possible that it could be there.

Will they share the information?

The other part of this question, though, is that they're not going to give out that information... just because you ask. You're going to need to come to them with a court order that says there is a legal reason for you to require this information as part of a criminal investigation. Yep, "criminal investigation," which means you need to involve the authorities; you need to involve the police.

That means that whatever this issue is that you're having needs to be something that is serious, it needs to be illegal and it needs to be serious enough for the police to be willing to invest resources into looking into it for you. So, obviously, I'm not very hopeful. It depends a lot on the specifics of your situation, so I don't want to rule it out for everybody.

Contact the forum

By and large, these kinds of issues (an erroneous comment on a forum or a misattributed comment on a forum) is not the kind of thing where police should typically get involved. Now, having said that, the other approach is: have you tried contacting the forum's administrator?

There is no requirement that they be helpful; but many of them are and many of them are actually willing to remove things that are erroneous, a misattribute, or whatever. That's not to say that all of them do; and it's not to say that all of them will even answer your request; but it does not hurt to ask. That is possibly the simplest approach and quite honestly, it's probably the only approach that you really have open to you.

Next - How did my friend's phone number get posted on a porn site?

Article C5179 - April 7, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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