How Do I View the List of BCC’ed Recipients on an Email I’ve Received?

I want to find the list of “undisclosed recipients” of the email I’ve received. Is there a way?


“Undisclosed recipients” is often placed in the “To:” line by email programs when the message being sent has no entries in the “To:” or “Cc:” lines. The sender has used the “Bcc:” feature of email to send the email to one or more people without revealing who they are.

So, how do you find out who they are?

Read moreHow Do I View the List of BCC’ed Recipients on an Email I’ve Received?

How Do I Encrypt Email?

What software do you use to encrypt email? Do you have any recommendations for email encryption software (preferably free)?

I really wish this was easier.

It should be easier.

But it’s not.

The fact is, encrypting email is cumbersome, and solutions that should work easily don’t work consistently. I’ll look at why encrypting email matters, and then I’ll give you some alternatives, starting with the one that’s the easiest to use.

Read moreHow Do I Encrypt Email?

Emails Opened? Is There a Reliable Way to Tell?


In my business, it is critical I know that emails I have sent were received & opened. The emails are time sensitive and contain deadline dates for the information requested.

I have searched for things like “emails opened” and asked questions… but all that has been futile.

I am certain I am not the only person unable to find an answer to this problem.

That’s because there is no answer to this problem.

And you’re quite right, you’re not the only person wishing otherwise.

But wishing – or even the statements of some companies that claim to be able to do it – doesn’t make it so.

I’ll explain why.

Read moreEmails Opened? Is There a Reliable Way to Tell?

How Does Blocking Pictures in an Email Protect My Privacy?


In Windows Mail, I received an email from a known vendor (not spam) with all the pictures withheld. At the top (below the header) there was a message which read:

“Some pictures have been blocked to help prevent the sender from identifying your computer. Click here to download pictures.”

My question is: How can a sender identify my computer by me receiving pictures? And of course, how great is the risk?

“Identifying your computer” in that informational message is somewhat vague, as it’s not exactly what can happen. But the concept is still important.

And in fact, if you’ve ever seen ads or services that claim “we can tell you if your email has been read” – images are how they do it, and it’s also why they can never be 100% reliable.

Read moreHow Does Blocking Pictures in an Email Protect My Privacy?

How can I keep someone from contacting me in email?

How can I keep someone from contacting me in email or instant messaging?

Severing communication is an unpleasant necessity at times. For personal or legal reasons you may want someone to stop contacting you or someone you know. The rub is that you’d like everyone else to be able to contact you as before.

We can’t control what other people do, but there are some ways we can either make it more difficult to be contacted, or automate the process of ignoring the contact attempts.

Read moreHow can I keep someone from contacting me in email?

How do I tell who really sent an email?

Leo, how do I tell who really sent me an email? And I mean their real name, location and telephone number if at all possible?

This is super simple.

You can’t.

Now, I’m assuming you don’t work in law enforcement. They police can get a lot of information; more than you or I ever could. Most of what I have to say will look at the various pieces of data that are associated with an email, and explain how easily they can be completely falsified. I can think of one scenario where you might get lucky, but that’s only if the sender isn’t being particularly careful.

Read moreHow do I tell who really sent an email?

Can My Company See My Personal Email?

I recently started to work at a small company – about fifteen people with no internal HR or IT department and I was requested to use my personal email account for work because my work email account was not yet ready. Although I’ve only sent work related emails on my personal account thus far (it’s been two days) and I intend to refrain from personal correspondence on my personal account (yep, quite ironic) until I switch to the office mail, I still have some concerns about privacy…

The questioner here goes on to ask some very specific questions that I’ll get to in a moment. These are really good questions, and I’m sorry to say that they’re all completely unanswerable in a very general sense.

But I do want to take them one at a time, and explain a little why you’ll be hearing me say “maybe” a lot.

Read moreCan My Company See My Personal Email?

How can newsletter senders tell that I haven’t opened a newsletter?


I am sure that I read in one of your newsletter emails that people don’t know if we read emails that we send them. I don’t know who reads my emails that I send on. So can you please explain this email that I received today? I just copied the body of the email, and yes, I guess I had subscribed at some point, but I haven’t had much in the way of emails from them in a long long time. Here is the email content:

Dear Reader,

We’ve noticed you haven’t been reading our emails lately.

Maybe you’re getting too many emails in your inbox. Maybe the information we’re sending isn’t useful to you anymore.

Whatever the reason, we don’t want to send you anything you don’t want.

If you’d like to unsubscribe, please do so now.

Or, if we’re wrong and you want to keep your current subscription, just let us know.

Please choose from one of the following options:

Keep me subscribed

Unsubscribe me

How did they know I hadn’t been reading?

There’s perhaps a too-subtle turn of phrase that I use when talking about email tracking that probably leads to your confusion.

I didn’t say they “can’t” tell if you’ve opened the mail – what I said was they “can’t reliably” tell.

That’s a pretty important difference.

Read moreHow can newsletter senders tell that I haven’t opened a newsletter?

Is Gmail’s targeted advertising a bad thing?


Leo, are you aware of Microsoft’s new advertising campaign? If you follow the link, If true, does it not alter your generally positive attitude towards Gmail? Since I use an email client, Outlook XP/2003 rather than Gmail’s own site, I’ve not been aware of targeted ads. But the allegation certainly worries me. Is it true? Having NSA and GCHQ eavesdropping is quite bad enough without Google joining the party.

Is it true? Sure. I’m quite aware of it and it’s nothing really new at all. And yes, it actually has caused me to lose a little respect, but probably not in the way you think.

I’ve actually lost a little respect for Microsoft!

Read moreIs Gmail’s targeted advertising a bad thing?

Can Backups of Email Be Hacked?

Hi, Leo. I’m an engineer in the UK. I’m interested in email security and I’ve read your stuff on email interception. I want to discuss an aspect of this (the backup of email servers) and get your view. Most articles that I come across suggest that intercepting email in transit or in flight over the wire as opposed to radio is hard to do for a hacker. It’s the end points that the hacker is most likely to attack, but my worry is that even in transit, an email is likely to pass through an intermediate email server and those servers are likely to be backed up with a backup possibly being stored off the network. Once this backup has been made, the security of the information content can then be a time independent risk. Such a backup could be read or copied who knows when in the future by who knows who. How much of a threat would you consider these backups to be?

You raise a very good point and it applies to more than just email. This is a very often-overlooked aspect of both email and more general cloud security.

Read moreCan Backups of Email Be Hacked?

Can an ISP tell me who’s reading my email?

I’m using Windows 7 and a POP3 email account. I think that someone is reading my emails. Can my ISP determine exactly which emails of mine are being read or not? Can an ISP track who is accessing my email account? Can they still determine things if I have deleted old emails?

The short answer to your question is no, your ISP can’t determine which of your emails are being read.

For all the things that your ISP can track, there’s a surprising number of things that it just can’t.

Ultimately, the capabilities of an ISP (or in this case, your email service provider) will vary dramatically depending on what they choose to do, what technology they happen to use, and how long they keep the information. In general, though, they probably can’t tell which specific emails have been read.

To show you what I mean, let’s go down this path a bit.

Read moreCan an ISP tell me who’s reading my email?

How Can I Send Anonymous Email?

I want to send email to a person I’m talking to on a dating service, but I don’t want them to be able to get my real email address and find me. What do I do?

This is a relatively common question.

It also makes for a fairly common news headline when someone who thought they were sending an anonymous message via email gets found out.

Anonymous email is conceptually fairly simple, but once you dive into the details – the details that perhaps investigators and law enforcement might take advantage of – things get complicated quickly.

With no real negative implications implied, let me ask you: how paranoid are you?

Read moreHow Can I Send Anonymous Email?

Why Are Electronic Greeting Cards a Bad Idea?

 I recently sent a friend of mine an electronic greeting card. He replied that I shouldn’t have. He said that because of my good intentions, he’d now be getting even more spam than ever. Is he right? Did I just screw up? 

Electronic greeting cards seem like such a good idea. A quick point-and-click at an e-card service, and you can send a cute virtual “card” via email. Often they’re even animated, with sounds or music in the background.

Unfortunately, all too often they also have a hidden agenda.

You may be “giving” more than you think.

Read moreWhy Are Electronic Greeting Cards a Bad Idea?

How Does Using BCC Help Reduce Spam?


Is it true that if I use BCC to email attachments, it will mean less danger of spam? How’s that?

It’s not so much about attachments as it is any email that you receive and then forward.

And it’s not so much about saving yourself from getting more spam, but saving the people that sent you the email you’re about to forward.

It’s all about keeping their email addresses private and un-harvestable.

Read moreHow Does Using BCC Help Reduce Spam?

How do I find out who owns a Hotmail account?

I keep getting “strange” emails from someone using a Hotmail account. How do I find out who they really are?

Hotmail (now is one of the most used (and abused) mail systems on the planet. One of the reasons why is because it’s nearly impossible to tell who really owns a Hotmail account.

There are situations where I believe it’s possible to find the owner of a Hotmail account, but it’s difficult and you won’t like what it takes.

Read moreHow do I find out who owns a Hotmail account?