Omegle is a well-known online chat and video call site primarily known as a platform for content creators to prank or entertain the people they connect with. If you’re active on social media, chances are you’ve come across a video where the content creator scares away the chatter on the other side of the screen by revealing their location.
So how does this trick work? How can someone on Omegle find out where you live? And how can you stay safe when using Omegle?
How your location can be tracked on Omegle
Before demystifying the trick, let’s start by understanding how Omegle works internally. Omegle is a peer-to-peer video or text chat platform. For the uninitiated, peer-to-peer or P2P means that the person you are chatting with connects directly to you via User Datagram Protocol (UDP) without a mediator or proxy.
Pranksters use this P2P mechanism from Omegle to track your IPv4 address when you connect to them with free network sniffing software like Wireshark, then use IP geolocation sites to determine your general location, PIN and password. other concrete things.
Although in theory this may seem like complex and borderline magic to those unfamiliar with networking, in reality the steps are easy to replicate. Let’s see how the whole process works.
Tracking an IP address on Omegle
The first step to finding someone’s location is to get their IPv4 address. This can be done in multiple ways. The most common and stealthy way to track down someone’s IP address is to inspect the traffic sent to and from the Omegle site. On the other hand, a more direct method would be to use OSINT tools like grabify to generate a phishing link. This method would require a fair amount of persuasion to get the target to click on the link. It is therefore not always effective, but when it works, it collects sensitive information such as IP address, geolocation, device model and software version.
To inspect traffic, network packets must be captured with a network sniffer application. Wireshark and tcpdump are crowd favorites. On Linux, you can also use built-in utilities such as netstat.
At first, Wireshark or a similar application is loaded and configured in monitor mode. It starts listening and capturing incoming and outgoing traffic. The captured traffic is then filtered to distinguish UDP connections established with Omegle. Filtered Packet Inspection will allow you to read the data transmission from your IP address to the foreign IP address in plain text.
Tracking location with IP geolocation
IP geolocation is the primary technique for knowing the general location of an IP address.
Each ISP is assigned a specific range of IP addresses. These IP address ranges are then categorized by region. A geolocation website searches for an IP address in a database of range-to-zone IP mappings, and when a match is found, it returns the general location assigned to the IP address you provided as input. Typically, the resulting location is a random point in a region with an IP address similar to the input IP address, or it could be a routing trunk from your ISP. The fact is that this is an approximate location.
Should you be worried about geolocation on Omegle?
While the thought of having your PIN read by a complete stranger is intimidating, in reality they don’t have access to any sensitive information and don’t know where you live. They just have an estimated location where IP addresses like yours are online. Thus, it is not you who is being tracked, but the area where your IP range is online.
While a prank like this is scary indeed, there is nothing to worry about and you are safe.
How to protect yourself on Omegle
Protecting yourself online is your sole responsibility. Although it may seem difficult, your web safety relies on practicing basic internet hygiene and being vigilant when browsing. Especially on a platform like Omegle, which is often targeted by scammers.