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How Pranksters Play
Your IP is divided up into four different fields, and the values in each of these fields indicate which subnet you belong to and where on this globe you are located. Pranksters can play with this information in a variety of ways.
One of the simplest and most insidious methods is to just scan a range of addresses and see if anybody is out there. For example, your current IP might be:
And the prankster might have a program which scans the entire block 123.123.123.*, in other words all addresses between 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124.
The prankster would send a signal to all IPs in this range and see if any respond. It might be a simple 'PING' - a sort of echo - which your computer will most likely recognize and send back. If your computer does respond to a scan, then the prankster knows someone is there and alive at that IP address and can probe further.
What is the prankster up to? No good, that's for sure. Why bother with such shenanigans? Good question. Why tag the IRT for that matter? And no one ever put an age limit on online computing. Your prankster might or might not be over the age of twelve. Your prankster most likely has a warped mind already.
The prankster might be trying to exploit your file and printer sharing. Microsoft boxes often have this NetBIOS service turned on. If your prankster can access your file and printer sharing, then your complete hard drive is open to access and possible destruction.
The prankster might also be looking for trojans on your machine.