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How can I know the IP address of the sender who sent me a self-destructing email? If not the IP address... what all information can be extracted?

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What do you mean by a "self destruct email"? Emails can't destroy themselves, since they're stored on your computer. The only thing one could do is sending an email that only consists of a link. But even then it's usually trivial to store the content of the link target. – CodesInChaos Sep 9 '12 at 17:01
Your question is so low on details, that it's hard to say anything useful about it. – CodesInChaos Sep 9 '12 at 17:35
Since there is no such thing as a “self-destruct email”, you'll need to explain what you mean by this phrase. What distinguishes this email from other emails? – Gilles Sep 9 '12 at 17:40
@KarmicDice Since there is no such thing as a “self-destruct email” (although there are people prepared to sell you one), what do you mean by “self-destruct email”? What makes you think you've received one? P.S. posting the full text (including headers — especially the headers) of what you have would probably make this question answerable. – Gilles Sep 9 '12 at 18:06
@`Gilles Of course it exists. Write "Please delete after reading" into the mail. Then it self destructs for well behaved receivers. @KarmicDice it's impossible to delete an email you send to somebody, unless you're prepared to hack his computer. You can only send an email containing a link, where the website at the end of the link disables itself. But screenshotting or saving such a website is still trivial. So Gilles is right that there is no such thing as a self destruct email. [Excluding a corporate context, where admins have control over email clients] – CodesInChaos Sep 9 '12 at 18:13
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The email itself didn't get deleted, since that's impossible. The email just consists of a link to a website, which won't work after the timeout.

This website uses a <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="60"> tag to refresh after 60 seconds. But within those 60 seconds you can easily view the source code, and save it. One example I saved looks like this:

For this specific sender(, it even displays the sender's IP address. Just save it. If you forgot to save it, you're out of luck.

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No. The link was disabled in 60seconds. – VenInd Sep 9 '12 at 18:30
@VenInd You're right. Disabling javascript is not enough, you need to disable redirects as well. Forgot to mention that, since I already had them disabled before. – CodesInChaos Sep 9 '12 at 18:48

It's not likely you will find out. You need to get the logs of the server it was stored on:

  • Ask the service provider nicely
  • Threaten the service provider
  • subpoena the service provider
  • steal the logs from the service provider
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