Almost everyone is fascinated by the online world due to its anonymity, yet most people are surprised to know that they’re certainly not as anonymous as they supposed while browsing the web. Hidden information prevails in e-mails about yourself as well as your e-mail provider, software programs might possibly attain your e-mail address and put you to bulk e-mailing directories, and some others might possibly access and browse your e-mail without your permission.
Trojan viruses as well as other computer viruses are often used to damage data on your machine, distribute viruses using your e-mail address, and even reveal personal information about you and your computer. While you might have started thinking there was a level of anonymity when you started using the Internet, you’ll find that information
might not be as private as you thought.
E-mail Privacy Is Not Merely about Spam
Privacy is a crucial matter with regard to the Internet as well as e-mail. Countless web sites offer online privacy policies which describe their rules about what is actually done with details which are given by you or perhaps received through some other measures. These privacy policies could possibly show you whether you could be included in the mailing lists, in case staff can regularly access your personal information, the rights of people under a certain age (such as children), or perhaps if your details are distributed to the government, law enforcement, or any other organizations and peoples.
This is why website owners have to pay attention to website protection and security. They should use website antivirus and SSL certificates to protect their customers from being hacked. More information:
By reading privacy policies, you might find that your e-mail privacy is limited or even nonexistent. Some of the reasons Web sites and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) release information related to your e-mail addresses are legitimate. An example of a legitimate
circumstance would be a criminal investigation. If someone sent threatening e-mail or distributed illegal material, like child pornography, the people investigating the case could obtain information about the person (via subpoenas, warrants, court orders, or similar documentation) from the Web site or ISP..
Unfortunately, lots of web sites accumulate information about you and then sell it to businesses to make money. These details could possibly contain registration details you had entered at the given site, including your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, gender, SSN (or Social Insurance Number, in Canada), or any other items that identify you.
The web page might take the information you have and then sell it to advertisers and other others.
Another way your e-mail and personal information may be passed out can be by means of databases which allow individuals to search for others online. Samples of such services are Yahoo! People Search (http://people.yahoo.com) and US SEARCH (www.ussearch.com). With such engines like google, it is possible to enter pieces of information with regards to a person and have their address, contact number, age, and e-mail address. For a fee, US SEARCH will go as far as to perform a background check and provide you with specifics of real-estate ownership and value, bankruptcy, tax liens, court judgments, and much more.
As you can see by this, you never truly know who might be viewing the information you considered private.
How E-mail Services Work
Before we go too far, let’s take a look at how e-mail is distributed and where it’s going. The phrase e-mail is short for electronic mail which is, basically, an electronic letter that’s sent over the Internet.
Mail clients are programs which might be used to create, send, receive, and view e-mails, and quite a few existing mail clients let messages to be formatted in ordinary text or HTML. Put simply, your e-mails can be simply textual anyway, or they are able to include formatted text, images, sounds, backgrounds, along with other Web-page-type elements.
Once you send an e-mail message, you might think it simply goes from Point A to Point B, but many more stops occur in the process. Once you send an e-mail, it first goes to the mail server belonging to your ISP. When it reaches your ISP, the mail server looks at the address you’re sending the e-mail to. This e-mail address is like mailbox@domain and ends by denoting the top-level domain (including .com, .net, .org, .ca, and so forth).
For instance, if the e-mail address was firstname.lastname@example.org, then the mail server would see that the top-level domain is a .com domain. The mail server must use a number of servers to discover the IP address of the recipient’s domain. An IP address is a unique number that identifies computers online, which is similar to a street address for the reason that it is accustomed to ensure messages reach the correct destination.
Because e-mail travels across multiple routers, servers, and lines, more parties than just the recipient might be able to access the messages or data attached to an e-mail. For instance, a copy of an e-mail is on your computer; therefore, anyone who can access your computer can read your message. Because your e-mail is also sent to your ISP, other people can view your messages that are sent onto the Internet. People with software called sniffers can grab e-mail packets off routers and lines on the Internet.The recipient’s ISP can look at the e-mail received by
the person the e-mail is meant for.
Finally, the person receiving the e-mail will have a copy of the e-mail when he or she downloads it from the mail server. To protect yourself and your data, you should consider using encryption. Encryption scrambles the contents of a message and attachments, and then puts the contents back together on the recipient’s end. Anyone attempting to view the data in between will generally be unable to decipher the content. We discuss how to encrypt messages here.
Putting password protection on
Your e-mail browser is a sound method of keeping others from viewing your email. If the e-mail program on your computer supports passwords, you can set one and ensure that anyone who doesn’t have the password will be prevented
from viewing your e-mails. The ability to place passwords on an e-mail program, or accounts used by the program, are available in many e-mail packages, including those used by corporate networks.
Another major weak link in e-mail security is simply forgetfulness. Many people access their e-mail and then walk away from their computer when they’re done reading their messages. They forget to close the e-mail program and log off. This is a particular problem in corporate networks (both with and without Internet access), where control of e-mail often depends on the account used to log onto the network. When this happens, anyone who uses the computer after you will have access to your data. This not only means they can open any of your files on a server, but they might also be able to view your e-mail. By opening any internal e-mail programs, they will be able to see what you’ve written, the files you sent, and any e-mails that you’ve received. If your network has Internet access, they might decide to browse the Internet, causing any firewall logs to show that it was you who visited the sites.
Companies routinely monitor Internet connectivity and e-mails being sent from computers on the job. A survey conducted with the American Management Association (www.amanet.org) discovered that almost 63 percent of major companies in the us monitor their employees by checking their Internet connections, while 47 percent store and review their e-mail. This is to make sure that personnel are following policies outlined by the company regarding proper use of these technologies.