How Private Is Your Email?

Written by Richard Lowe

Many years ago I was a consultant for a company who decided they wanted to perform a security audit of their computer systems. One ofrepparttar components of their system that I was requested to check out was email. My client wanted to determine if their email was secure.

It took me all of a minute to determine that their email was totally and completely insecure. Fortunately for them, this was inrepparttar 109663 days before it was common for company computer systems to be directly connected torepparttar 109664 internet, because their email messages were stored in plain text in a well known system location. In fact, not only wererepparttar 109665 email messages stored in a completely insecure manner, but deleted messages were not actually deleted until an administrator purged them - and since they didn't have anyone doing that there was a complete record of company emails going back years inrepparttar 109666 past.

I had spent about thirty minutes on this part ofrepparttar 109667 audit so far and was ready to move on when one ofrepparttar 109668 email messages caught my eye. It was a particularly juicy romantic message from one employee to another. Well, romantic is notrepparttar 109669 right word - highly x-rated would be more like it.

Curious, I continued looking throughrepparttar 109670 emails (offrepparttar 109671 clock, of course, since I had already accomplished my mission as regards email) to see what else was stored inrepparttar 109672 single message file.

I stayed up all night long, highly amused at what I saw that day. Believe me, I read some serious blackmail material (if I was that kind of person). Lots of office romance, some flirting, X-rated messages and other similar things. I remember one particularly scandalous series of hundreds of emails going back and forth between one man and a woman (both single) recounting their relationship for years. Every date, every x-rated encounter was written up in long, detailed messages. This was very entertaining stuff indeed.

After a few hours I got bored and stopped reading. I was tempted to keep a copy ofrepparttar 109673 email data but resisted. That was not part of my mission. Fortunately, it was also not part of my job to report on indiscretions committed by various employees. My job was to find and fix any insecurities, and that's exactly what I did ... I erasedrepparttar 109674 file and set up an automatic purge to permanently delete old emails. Atrepparttar 109675 time that wasrepparttar 109676 best that I could do.

I learned a very important lesson that day - email is not private. Not by any means.

Not much has changed inrepparttar 109677 intervening years. In fact, email messages are generally not encrypted in any way. In fact, I have never received an encrypted email and I've only sent a few in my entire life.

Just so you completely understand, a normal email message is NOTrepparttar 109678 equivalent of a letter send throughrepparttar 109679 normal mail. In that case, you write your note on a piece of paper, put it in an envelope and drop it intorepparttar 109680 mail. As far as email is concerned, a better analogy is of a postcard. Your messages are "written" onrepparttar 109681 electronic equivalent of postcards. What does this mean to you? Anyone can look at your message. Quite literally, anyone.

Let's look atrepparttar 109682 process to illustrate how and when an email message could be read by another person.

1) You writerepparttar 109683 email using your email client. The client may create that email as a text file in a temporary folder on your hard drive. If someone looked at your hard drive they could findrepparttar 109684 email. And it's not any better if you use a web based email client such as Hotmail. These leave files inrepparttar 109685 Temporary Internet Folder, which can easily be recovered. Remember thatrepparttar 109686 next time you read your emails at work...

2) You do type inrepparttar 109687 email address to which an email is sent. You could accidentally type inrepparttar 109688 wrong address. Worse yet, if you have distribution or mailing lists, you could accidentally type in one of those, which may cause an email to inadvertently be sent torepparttar 109689 wrong person or people. For example, if there was a "Joe S Smith" and a "Joe M Smith" at your company with very close email addresses, you could easily send torepparttar 109690 wrong person.

What is Spam?

Written by Michael Bloch

spam: noun

Spam is unsolicited e-mail onrepparttar Internet. Fromrepparttar 109662 sender's point-of-view, it's a form of bulk mail, often to a list culled from subscribers to a Usenet discussion group or obtained by companies that specialize in creating e-mail distribution lists.

Torepparttar 109663 receiver, it usually seems like junk e-mail. In general, it's not considered good netiquette to send spam. It's generally equivalent to unsolicited phone marketing calls except thatrepparttar 109664 user pays for part ofrepparttar 109665 message since everyone sharesrepparttar 109666 cost of maintainingrepparttar 109667 Internet.

Some apparently unsolicited e-mail is, in fact, e-mail people agreed to receive when they registered with a site and checked a box agreeing to receive postings about particular products or interests. This is known as both opt-in e-mail and permission-based e-mail.

Spam also bogs downrepparttar 109668 internet with unneccessary transactions torepparttar 109669 point that I have seen it crash servers that have to deal with literally thousands of junk messages flooding them all at once.

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