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When a website has a contact form where the email isn't shown, is there any possible way of know to which email is the contact form sending the message?

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closed as off topic by AJ Henderson, Iszi, AviD Feb 5 '13 at 12:11

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This doesn't seem to be a security question, per se. –  Xander Feb 5 '13 at 0:18

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

When you submit a contact form, the information is transmitted to the web server and the web server then takes care of handling either sending an e-mail or filing it away in some other way. All you can know locally is that the information you entered was sent from your computer to the server, but after that, it is entirely up to them to decide what to do with the information you submitted and you have no visibility in to that process.

The only exception to this is if the form ends up doing a mailto: call that ends up launching your e-mail handler. In this case, the message would be sent locally and you could tell, but that is an exceedingly rare and silly way to handle a contact form these days.

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No. You can not even assume, that an email is generated. The server could generate a support-ticket for the company's ticketing system as well without sending any mail.

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It could be possible in badly coded contact forms, if the form is sending the email address as a hidden POST/GET variable, you can know that by inspecting the html code of the webform and searching for the @ sign. or by using a firefox plugin called 'Tamper Data'.

Otherwise it is not possible, the message could be just dumped to the database to await for an administrator attention.

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It is possible to determine the sender address if

1) The target mail system has a problem that causes an NDR to be sent ("your message is delayed")

2) The target email account has a full mailbox... an NDR will be generated

3) The target account doesn't exists... causing an NDR to be generated.

Unless the email system (within your control) exposes it, the webserver may expose the address, or internals if you're using an unpatched webserver and the OS or web listener is hacked

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