Is there anyway to track someone using Yahoo/Hotmail?

I use my Yahoo email whenever I have to give an email to a website or company I don’t trust much. Recently though I’ve been wondering if there is a way for them to find out who’s email that is. In other words, can they find out info about me just by having my Yahoo email account name?

Yes, Yahoo and Hotmail expose the originating IP address of the sender. So, if you’re, say, sending it from your home computer, they’ll be able to track you down to the city you live in, and your ISP. If you’re doing something illegal, they can get you shut down.

If you’re worried about anonymous web email, you should use the web intereface for Gmail. The originating IP is that of the Google mail servers (causing no end to the stress of Spamcop and other blacklisting services), which means they can only track you back to being a Google user.

I think he’s talking about them finding out that "[email protected]" is Robert Sharp. In that case, no, they can’t. Especially if it’s a free account and you give Gary Whitta’s name as the sign up name.

Sure, they can track your IP if you send them one, but in most cases that’ll resolve back to a weird DNS name. I know Comcast up here gives out bogus DNS lookups on my machines so someone isn’t able to figure out who I am.

Always block images from people you don’t know.

Someone could send a web bug (small clear image) to track the user. So if they suspect a connection, they would send an email to Robert Sharp’s official email, and one to the hotmail account - both containing the small image they have hosted on their server. if it gets loaded, they would have the server log be able to connect the two together.


That makes sense, thanks. But how do they even trace the IP? Isn’t the email technically sent from Yahoo? I mean I log onto their server, and the emails are all kept server side. How would my computer’s IP show up at all?

They use the HTTP environment referrer variable as a reference point to control spam sent from their servers. When you use the SMTP interface, rather than the web, they use the originating point of the email, which is supplied in the headers.

Before they did that, in the good old days, people used to sign up for Hotmail and Yahoo accounts and use them to spam with impunity, as there was no way to track them back to the original sender.