Determing the Sender of an Email

mamelas
mamelas used Ask the Experts™
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Dear Experts,

I have a customer from India who claims that one of the emails that were sent from his email address to me was not generated from his mail client.
With a quick look I have noticed that the sender is the same for all mails.

Q1) Is it possible to use an alias on my email and “mask” my email address?

Example:
I send email from john@gmail.com
But the Receiver will see on the “from” field the email support@mycompany.com

Is it possible to use an alias and send emails on which the Receiver will see a different email address?

Q2)
If it is possible, is there any way to track back the original email address?

I have also tried to find more info from the headers of the “fraud” mail and the genuine one.

The fraud mail was sent from an open-source web client called Roundcube from an IP address in USA Missouri. In addition the header has four X-AntiAbuse records.

Q3) What are the X-AntiAbuse records?

The Genuine mail was send from an MS Outlook 14 client from an IP address in India and the email was finally received (via hop) from an IP address in USA Massachusetts. The domain of the email is also coming from USA Arizona.

Q4) Is there any other info that I could track?
I would like to verify if the mail credentials of my client are hacked or my client is lieing for a reason .

Thank you in advance,
Mamelas
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Commented:
Hi Mamelas,

Email is not a secure system, and unfortunately there are a lot of ways to mislead/hide info.
This is the main reason SPAM is such a hard issue to resolve.

Although it is possible to hide the original sender the actual servers used to send messages are harder to hide.

The best starting point would be an online header reader. Using this you can copy all the Internet Headers (the stuff you've found) and paste it here. It will tell you what the various markers mean.

https://mxtoolbox.com/EmailHeaders.aspx

Make sure you copy ALL the headers (all the way to the start of the email text).
IT Engineer
Distinguished Expert 2017
Commented:
Go to your outlook, open email in new window then click on  TAGS

Capture.JPG
You going to be able see full email header.
You can analyze header and you will be able to see who sent this email or from what IP address email was sent.
Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014
Commented:
The 'From:' address seen in an email header is not necessarily the actual address it was sent from.  It is just text in the header.  The actual To/From info for the mail server is contained in an 'envelope' that is never seen by the email recipients.  That makes it easy to fake the 'From:' address.

A much better indicator is the message about the server paths because those are added by the servers as the email passes thru them.
Q1) yes : it is trivial to spoof both the envelope sender and the one specified in the from: header

Q2) likely not, but the ip can be a good indication ( if the headers are not forged ). if you are lucky, the envelope sender is the actual user. it should be spelled in one of the relay: headers. feel free to post those headers.

Q3) unrelated headers used for tracking mail flows and help report abuse. no idea who adds them. but you can use the information in those headers to report the problem to whoever own the originating server ( which you can find in the headers ). if they are added when the mail leaves the roundcube, the admins of the domain will be able to identify the account.

Q4) the originating ip can provide info. but a good start might be to compare the headers of a regular email you are sure he did send with the ones you get. but you'll never be sure he did not use one of his own separate accounts to play a trick on you if you're suspicious in the first place.
also see if the localization matches.
Tom CieslikIT Engineer
Distinguished Expert 2017

Commented:
Best solution provided. No more other questions from author.

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