The Problems with Secure Email

Written by ArticSoft

The ideal system that everyone is searching for –repparttar silver bullet, is to have top security automatically regardless of who you are sending to and what product(s) they happen to be using. The reality is that many e-mail packages are not themselves secure, and do not interoperate cleanly with anything but their own products.

Forrepparttar 132029 time being you are better off keeping your security outside of your e-mail or word processing package, and exchanging attachments that are fully protected and not relying upon any ofrepparttar 132030 different systems that people are using. That way you increaserepparttar 132031 security ofrepparttar 132032 result and do not have to rely on complex interactions between proprietary systems.

It may not be as elegant, but it will take you a lot further than relying on a specific e-mail service and will give you, forrepparttar 132033 time being, a much more secure result.


Forrepparttar 132034 last ten years or so we have become increasingly reliant on e-mail. It is ubiquitous, and unlike real mail it can chase us from continent to continent in seconds. For better or worse we now haverepparttar 132035 ability to conductrepparttar 132036 next worst thing to conversation, but in writing.

Of course, and despite allrepparttar 132037 advice, we treat this ability as if it wererepparttar 132038 same as personal conversation. Private. Offrepparttar 132039 record. We also assume that no-one else is going to be able to read it, and that it can’t ever get intorepparttar 132040 wrong hands.

Slowly but surely we are finding out,repparttar 132041 hard way, that, as inrepparttar 132042 words ofrepparttar 132043 song, “It ain’t necessarily so.” What we are doing is like sending picture postcards throughrepparttar 132044 mail. It appears that everyone from our e-mail administrator to halfrepparttar 132045 hacking community can pick up what we are doing, even offrepparttar 132046 internal network.

Enterrepparttar 132047 answer – secure e-mail (Se-mail?). Run it just like ordinary mail but click onrepparttar 132048 secure button and you’re done. Shangri-La! But is it for real or is it yet another ofrepparttar 132049 IT pipe dreams?

Silver Bullet Syndrome

This is not a new disease. Far from it. This is a regular epidemic every time someone goes nearrepparttar 132050 IT security allergy. Somehow or other it seems obvious to anyone thatrepparttar 132051 immense complexity ofrepparttar 132052 computer can be made safe and secure by a single act (the laying on of hands perhaps?). Despiterepparttar 132053 fact that every day experience teaches us how difficult it is to get a computer to anything without us making a significant contribution, security is supposed to happen without any thought or planning (even less than putting something in a brown envelope rather than a see-through folder).

Manufacturers have been quick to recognize two things. The first has been that they need to service their customers more so that they can charge more. The second is that despite allrepparttar 132054 claims about standards in security,repparttar 132055 cold hard reality is that there are hardly any.

What, no standards?

Well, almost none. We have S/MIME (version 2 or 3?) to sort out how you might sign and encrypt streams going from one e-mail client to another. That’s fine except that you need ‘PKI’ standards sitting behind S/MIME to make it useful, and there seem to be more of those than you can shake a stick at. This is a case where there are so many different standards (and even more interpretations of them) that in effect you have no standards.

If you want to think about standards in terms of manufacturer’s products (after all, dominant suppliers and monopolies set standards of a kind) thenrepparttar 132056 picture is more like this. We have Outlook Express and Outlook (notrepparttar 132057 same thing even if they are fromrepparttar 132058 same stable) and HotMail. To that we must add Eudora, Lotus Notes and AOL (Compuserve). We have an increasing number of web-mail products such as Yahoo and Lycos, just in caserepparttar 132059 others weren’t enough. And we haven’t yet begun to mention allrepparttar 132060 various brands of ‘secure’ mail that exist, including PGP. Can you believe that all of these interoperate smoothly and seamlessly with each other?

So we can conclude that standards are not yet in a position to help us.

Our objectives

Somewhere inrepparttar 132061 security debate, you lose, as we seem in danger of doing, sight of what your objective actually is becauserepparttar 132062 technology debate is so much more confusing.

The objective forrepparttar 132063 user might be summarized as follows (borrowing fromrepparttar 132064 paper world):

- to be certain what they send goes torepparttar 132065 right person/place; - to be certain thatrepparttar 132066 right person/place can readrepparttar 132067 information; - to be able to use signed information as proof to a court or other body; - to stoprepparttar 132068 wrong people from reading personal and private information.

Some of these wishes are more difficult than others. Just as inrepparttar 132069 paper world, you can’t stop anyone seeingrepparttar 132070 address onrepparttar 132071 outside of a letter,repparttar 132072 same is true of e-mail. If someone alters that address, it doesn’t go torepparttar 132073 right place, and if someone altersrepparttar 132074 return address (in many countries it is written onrepparttar 132075 back ofrepparttar 132076 envelope)repparttar 132077 recipient may not know where it has come from or it may not, if delivery fails, be returned torepparttar 132078 correct sender.

More Free Tools Increase Security For Your PC

Written by Jim Edwards

A recent article about preventing hackers from breaking into your computer caused an overwhelming response by readers.

It seems everyone has an opinion aboutrepparttar best software and advice for keeping your computer safe from viruses and online predators. The following will help you increase your online security and usually without spending a dime!

Zone Alarm

Zone Alarm offers several versions of their popular firewall software with various options for increased security. The basic firewall software comes free of charge and ranks amongrepparttar 132026 most highly rated firewalls available. The paid version helps you to eliminate everything from pop-up windows to unwanted advertising and also helps you track hackers back to their source.

Visit to download your copy today, especially if you don't already carry a firewall on your system.

The Guru Of Security

Visit if you want a real "eye opener!" Frankly, some ofrepparttar 132027 things I saw on this website shocked me. I had no idea so many potential problems existed for breaches in your online security.

But what also shocked me was how simple most ofrepparttar 132028 "fixes" rate for securing your computer against attack. It became very apparent to me that most computer hackers don't exploit hardware or software weaknesses, they actually exploit our ignorance aboutrepparttar 132029 simple steps we should take to protect ourselves and others.

When you visit you'll seerepparttar 132030 site covers a lot of ground. Since you might find it easy to get sidetracked with allrepparttar 132031 interesting information, make sure to specifically check outrepparttar 132032 "Shields Up!" area. This section offers two comprehensive tests of your Internet connection to check forrepparttar 132033 typical points of entry used by hackers.

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