Internet Security and Privacy Protection Resources

E-mail Security

The most common way of sending e-mail messages is doing that via your ISP (Internet Services Provider). This is, probably, the surest way of letting the world know all details about yourself, like who you are and where you live. Your, or any other, ISP never cares about clients' privacy.

Another typical way would be opening a free web mail account. It is a wide spread illusion - privacy of web mail. Great majority of web mail providers, even those claiming to offer anonymous services, will expose your IP address to the recipient should the recipient wish to check the headers of the message to see it. Your IP address points directly to your ISP. Examining ISP's logs any curious person can find out identification and billing information which usually contains the name, address and other personal details. Quite often a clients' phone number used for dial up is logged too. Moreover message content may be stored uncontrolled in a local browser cache on your HD (hard drive), or in your ISP proxy cache. And the last, but not the least important thing is that if a web mail server does not use SSL encryption, then anyone interested in between your PC and the web mail server can look through your mail messages like a morning newspaper. To finalize this short review we can say that web mail just is not convenient for business correspondence. Anyone using it knows that.

So what should a person seeking security and anonymity in email correspondence look for?

Here is a list of requirements your e-mail services provider (ESP) should meet: 

  • Your ESP should not collect and record any information about clients, i.e. you. Only two things are essential for signing up for a new email account: a login (used as a part of your email address) and password (to access the account). Other details should be optional.
  • Your ESP SMTP (mail server) should not add the header containing the sender's IP address. The significance of the IP address for locating of the sender has been dealt with above.
  • You should look for an ESP allowing encrypted connection to the server. This will eliminate intermediate snooping.
  • Use encrypted SSL connection to SMTP and POP3 servers
  • Avoid web-based email. It is not secure at all. Emailing a dozen of messages may take eternity. Using your favorite software like Netscape Messenger, Mozilla Thunderbird, Opera, Eudora, Outlook you will make your email communication much easier and convenient. Moreover storing your messages on a local (and encrypted) drive of your PC is far more secure than doing this somewhere in the Internet.


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