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Email - Read Full Email Headers

This article explains how to view and understand email headers in order to verify the true originating address of the message.

Many email messages display forged email addresses in the headers so that the "From" line appears to be a uchicago.edu address, although it actually originated from an off-campus source. This is common with emails that are virus-infected, spam, or phishing. To see the true origin of the message, display the full headers of the email.

Forwarding Email Headers Via Outlook

Outlook users can easily forward headers by emailing the email of concern as an attachment to preserve delivery header information, which is very useful for effectively blocking malicious emails. To do so, you simply have to press Ctrl+Alt+F on your keyboard while in the message. This will create a new email message with the malicious email included as an attachment. You can now send this new email to IT Security for review.

How to Display Full Email Headers

See these support sources to learn how to view email headers in the most popular email applications:

Understand What Email Headers Mean

Email headers include tracking information that can be used to see some or all of the mail servers traversed by that message. Specifically, the Received headers list all of the email servers the message traversed in reverse chronological order. 

Some aspects of the headers can be spoofed; in general, interpreting headers requires significant technical background. See these sources for useful information and tools:




Keywords:mail, message, phishing, scam, sender, security, O365   Doc ID:15935
Owner:James C.Group:University of Chicago
Created:2010-12-01 19:00 CDTUpdated:2017-03-09 20:35 CDT
Sites:University of Chicago, University of Chicago - Sandbox
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