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Using Message-ID to track a message

Posted on 1998-07-29
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How does one use the Message-ID field in an SMTP message to track a message? What information can be learned? Can you find out the originator, or just stuff like the time it was sent and what server it started out on?
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Question by:goclimb
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seedy earned 100 total points
ID: 2009172
No.

As per RFC 822, the implementation/generation of this field is left to the host that generates it.  The only criteria is: an unique identifier for that message.

If you want to find out originator, look at from/Sender/Reply-To headers. The server it started out from will be the "Sender" if there is one.  The "Received" header from bottom to top will tell you the path the mail has taken to reach you.
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by:ahoffmann
ID: 2009173
some examples of message-IDs:

linux sendmail: 199807221644._random_@mailserver
M$ exhange:     sidMAC_random_@exchangeserver

self-explanating ;-)
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