[lug] Tracing Email Addresses

Tkil tkil at scrye.com
Wed Oct 18 10:03:09 MDT 2000

>>>>> "Solo" == SoloCDM  <deedsmis at aculink.net> writes:

Solo> Can a trace (just as in traceroute) be placed on an email
Solo> address as it goes about the Internet?

not actively.  if you have the received e-mail, however, you can go
through the "received" headers (typically working your way backwards
through them -- that is, the most recent "Received:" header is usually

i tend to use these for (1) finding the origin of spam e-mail, and (2)
seeing where a long delay happened during the transmission.

getting this information from someone else can be difficult,
especially as many e-mail programs don't have a "send this message to
someone without touching it at all" option (most strip out the
"Received" headers when replying/forwarding -- that's usually the
right thing to do, but it's also nice to be able to send the whole
thing on when necessary.  "forward as attachment" [of type message/
rfc822] is usually the ticket.)

these days, the trace is usually short and not every interesting.  on
the internet at large, most e-mail is point-to-point (compared to
older uucp system, where there could be lots of hops.)  on a more
local net, you will usually just have an internal mail server and
maybe the gateway mail server.  so, it's rare to have a message with
more than 4-5 "Received" headers, except maybe when you have a mail
loop.  :)


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