Every e-mail has a header that stores significant
information about sender of the e-mail and the path it traversed
before reaching your mailbox. In earlier issues - we have discussed
how to read e-mail headers and various header elements. In this
issue, we shall discuss how to locate actual sender of an e-mail
and his/her geographical location.
Of all header elements we have discussed, 'Received:'
headers are most important for identifying sender's country. One
reason is that - 'Received:' headers are most difficult to tamper
Reading 'Received:' Header
Consider following e-mail header and its interpretation:
1. Received: from [18.104.22.168] (helo=web20024.mail.yahoo.com) 2. by arjuna.banijya.com with smtp (Exim 4.43) 3. id 1CPhNE-0002Qt-0T 4. for email@example.com; Thu, 04 Nov 2004 07:09:56 -0600 5. Received: from [22.214.171.124] by web20024.mail.yahoo.com via 6. HTTP; Thu, 04 Nov 2004 05:09:53 PST
I have added line numbers for clarity and help in discussion - you will not see such line numbers in actual e-mail heading.
Line 1 - 4 : Mail sever arjuna.banijya.com receives a mail for one of its clients (firstname.lastname@example.org) from mail server web20024.mail.yahoo.com which has an IP address 126.96.36.199
By the way - IP stands for Internet Protocol. The
Internet uses a technology to interlink millions of computers in
its fold - TCP/IP. The core of this technology is called IP addressing
or Internet Protocol addressing. Every computer connected to Internet
is given a unique number for identification - called IP number.
IP number is used to verify location and activities of any computer.
Your ISP provider assigns you an IP address each time you connect
to the Internet.
Locating Sender's Country from IP Address
Spammers and fraudsters may forge many header elements
like 'From:', 'Received-date:' etc. - but it is very difficult to
change IP addresses inserted by mail servers. At best, they may
insert fake 'Received': headers to confuse recipient.
Happy and Productive Surfing
Dr. Amit K Chatterjee
- Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad
Vol: 5, Issue 12
; November 26' 2004