How to locate the source of an email

Plus: surf safely with ZoneAlarm ForceField

There are many aspects to web security. You can hardly move for apps that automate online protection and safeguard your identity, for instance. But one area that gets less attention is IP-address tracing.

If you happen across a suspect website or receive a dodgy-sounding email, it's possible to turn detective and find out where the company behind it is located. This information is stored in the IP address.

To trace the IP address of a web domain, such as, go to Start, Run and type cmd. In the command prompt that pops up, type tracert, followed by the domain name.

Tracert will track all stages of connection between you and the website, then provide a final line that includes its IP address. Use this to check the location of the server by using or

The ease with which you can locate an IP address for an email depends on the program you're using. Information is stored in an email header. Some mail clients display this clearly; others hide it away for your 'convenience'. We'll show exactly where to find it.

We'll also be looking at ForceField, a new security product from the makers of ZoneAlarm. While ZoneAlarm is a front-line defence to prevent dangers making it into your network, ForceField prevents any hazards that do manage to sneak in from making changes to your PC.

ForceField creates a virtual drive. Any data from potentially malicious websites is stored in a cloned version of your hard drive, preventing it from causing harm to your actual system.

In addition, the software protects against keyloggers and spyware, adds an antiphishing filter and checks the credentials of every site you visit. ForceField will also prevent potentially dangerous downloads from occurring.

Locate the source of an email

1. In order to trace the IP address of an email, you'll need to reveal the header of the message, which is usually hidden by an email client. The method for doing this varies between email and webmail clients. In Gmail, click the arrow next to Reply in a message and select 'Show original'.


Step 1

2. Some applications display the header above the main message; Gmail opens it as a separate text document. To find the IP address of the message sender, locate the section beginning 'Received: from' and look for a series of four sets of numbers separated by full stops, such as


Step 2

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Jason Whittaker

PC Advisor (UK)
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