Email Security

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With all the benefits of email mentioned in the previous article, email still is not fully secure. There are many problems associated with email and email accounts giving rise to the concern of email security.

Email Security

Some of them are as follows:

  1. Email accounts can be hacked into by unauthorised persons by either problems in the server software or leaking of some data somehow on the part of user. If anyone gains unauthorised access to an email account, there is always a loss of privacy and loss of security in such cases wherein a person can get access to private data contained in your emails. If a hacker accesses the email servers, he/she may be able to access emails stored on the server, which are generally stored in a human-readable form and not encrypted form.
  2. Some emails also have some attachments which may contain malware like viruses, trojans, etc which can harm your computer if you intentionally or unintentionally download them.
  3. You may become a victim of email hoaxes and frauds which may lead to financial or other losses.
  4. You cannot send email to someone who does not use email.
  5. There are some email service providers like Gmail which scan the content of your email and show relevant ads. This leads to loss of privacy.
  6. Some email providers may even share your email id with some other websites and thus you may end up getting some spam or hoax email
  7. Allegedly, there are some email providers which provide back-door access to certain authorities to access and process all of your email.
  8. If you mis-type a single alphabet in the email address of the recepient, it is a possible door to leakage of private/confidential information.
  9. You often get a lot of “Spam” or “Junk” email which is a time-waster. Sorting them out and deleting them from time to time is time-comsuming task.
  10. Email can also lead to misunderstandings since one is not able to make out the non-verbal communications from the contents of the email.
  11. If your email storage becomes full, you will not be able to access any new emails.
  12. Some emails can also be missed by the user due to too many emails in the user’s inbox. Thus, important information/engagements can be missed unintentionally. Also, if an email gets marked as “Spam” or “Junk” by the email server, you may possibly skip it, it does not matter how important it was.

Whereas some of the above issues can be addressed by the user by being more careful, some of them require intervention from the end of email service providers. There are 2 concerns that can be addressed by the said intervention:

  1. Privacy
    1. The email providers will not process your emails to extract data or show you relevant ads.
  2. Security
    1. The email providers store emails in encrypted form on their servers. The emails are encrypted on your web-browser only before they are sent to the email server. This is called end-to-end encryption. Thus, no one except the sender and recipient will be ale to access those emails. This will ensure that even if any hacker gains unauthorised access to the email servers, he/she will not be able to process the encrypted emails. These emails are encrypted in your web-browser using your password. Thus, in case you forget your password, even you will not be able to access your emails as they would have been encrypted by a password that you have forgotten.
    2. This can also be ensured by using something called PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) on a normal email service like Gmail, Outlook/Hotmail, Yahoo, etc since PGP encrypts email using Public Key Cryptography System, which is discussed in another post.

The above mentioned concerns are addressed by the following email providers (most of them are paid services):

The above websites are some of the email poviders which address privacy and security concerns. You may search DuckDuckGo or Google for more such services or the details of above mentioned services.

For Wikipedia entry on Email, click here.

For more posts on Email, click here.

For more posts in The Cyber Cops project, click here.

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