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My previous employer said that an email from a hotmail account was sent out of the office. The reason they know it was from the office was because of the IP address that was listed when the email was researched to see where it came from. My previous employer says that the IP address referenced back to their server.

My question is.....If the company had an open wireless connection, is it possible that someone from outside the company who may be using the companies wireless connection could have sent that email but the IP is showing my previous employer as the sender?

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If the company has an open wireless, and a hotmail message was sent from within the network of your previous employer, then yes it could be via that wireless interface.

Given you are using IP in the singular, I assume this is some kind of proxied office, using NAT perhaps. In that case, it would be hard to say which machine on the network a given message came from, wireless or otherwise.

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Note too that when an email is sent from Hotmail's web interface, the IP is included. So, if the user has used the web interface, you might be able to track down the individual from the logs in your web proxy (if applicable and available). – caelyx Apr 14 '11 at 1:02
Thank You. I will run this by the employer – Danel Apr 14 '11 at 15:58

It sounds like you need legal advise, not technical advise. However, the simple answer is yes.

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