Can the police track where emails go in this case?


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Thread: Can the police track where emails go in this case?

  1. #1

    Can the police track where emails go in this case?

    For my story, the villains are committing computer crimes, and the police do not have enough evidence, to legally bust into the building and catch them in the act of doing it.

    But do they have any technology to figure out where the emails are going from the laptop in the building? They do not have a warrant to seize the laptop to put any devices on it, but is there a way to trace the emails going out of the laptop, without having to actually touch the laptop, and do it remotely without being seen?

  2. #2
    WF Veteran Bloggsworth's Avatar
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    Not unless the criminals are terminally stupid. If they were in the slightest bit savvy they would use proxy servers and bounce them around the world. The detective/spy/CSI stories that purport to track down the source of emails are fiction, in all senses. If it were not so, all hackers would be caught every time. If you ever bother to right click on an email's scource you will find that an email sent from the house next door may have arrived via Croatia, Singapore, Peru and the Phillipines, and 10 other countries, and nobody is even trying to hide it...
    A man in possession of a wooden spoon must be in want of a pot to stir.

  3. #3
    Yes they are using proxy servers, which is why the police haven't been able to catch them so far. But let's say the police have followed them to a building where they are using a laptop. The email has to come out of the lap top, and go into cyberspace, and leave the building through cyberspace. Is there way to track the email out of the building, through cyberspace, before it hit's the proxy server?

  4. #4
    WF Veteran Bloggsworth's Avatar
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    Doubtful.
    A man in possession of a wooden spoon must be in want of a pot to stir.

  5. #5
    There is no equipment for tracking emails that you can point at a laptop and then track where the email is going rather than having to use the laptop itself, to track it?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    There is no equipment for tracking emails that you can point at a laptop and then track where the email is going rather than having to use the laptop itself, to track it?
    I believe emails contain the IP address of the sender, in which case, you'd be able to track it back to the computer, but I could be wrong. It might just contain the address of the host.

  7. #7
    WF Veteran Bloggsworth's Avatar
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    Not if you've set your computer to have a floating IP address, and the miscreants would likely tether the laptop to a burner phone anyway...
    A man in possession of a wooden spoon must be in want of a pot to stir.

  8. #8
    Oh okay but what good would an IP address do, when the cops know where the laptop is. If they know where it is, can they not track the emails coming out of it, without an IP address, since they know physically where the laptop is?

  9. #9
    WF Veteran Bloggsworth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Oh okay but what good would an IP address do, when the cops know where the laptop is. If they know where it is, can they not track the emails coming out of it, without an IP address, since they know physically where the laptop is?
    No.
    A man in possession of a wooden spoon must be in want of a pot to stir.

  10. #10
    Oh okay, thanks. If they know where the laptop is that is sending, them is there any way to track the emails coming out of the laptop at all then?

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