Okay then, if you wanted to report an attack this is what you want to do:
- Go to this site
- Paste the IP you want to trace into the IPWHOIS lookup field
- You should get some contact details for that person's ISP, including an abuse or staff email address
- Note the IP address and the exact time at which the attack occurred
- Email the staff with as many details as you have, they will attempt to prove the attack occurred and if possible shut down the offender's account
You would need to file a lawsuit against the ISP, AFAIK, to get the name and real-world address of the offender - that's what I was talking about.
Hackers and "PC wiz's" as you put it find out your IP address by tricking you basically, software like MSN Messenger or comparable IM software has you connect to the company's (i.e. Microsoft's) web servers and they
connect to the contact you are currently chatting to, so they mask the IP. However many people on MSN have Messenger Plus!
installed, typing (!IP) in MSN will reveal your IP if you have this installed.
Alternatively, they could get you to access a website where they have control or access to the server logs, which record all IPs that accessed that website.
The easiest way, however, would probably just be to get you to send them an email, the headers should contain your IP address however some webmail (Hotmail etc.) doesn't give you full access to the headers.
If you want to hide your IP, the only way to do it is with a proxy. This is a web server that makes all your requests to web-pages / servers / other computers for you, then forwards everything back to you. The proxy has your IP, but the people you are contacting have the IP of the proxy. Therefore the only way to find your IP is to get the logs of the proxy and find out who the traffic was being redirected to. This usually also requires legal action to be taken.
As far as exactly
locating the origin of a request from an IP, like I said, unless it is an ISP, the only way you can find the location of it is by subpoena'ing the customer details from the ISP. If you do a IPWHOIS lookup like I suggested above, you should be able to find the exact location (i.e. street address) of the ISP of the user.
Hope that helps.