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Email Security Issues

The independent, non-profit Electronic Privacy Information Center has an Online Guide to Practical Privacy Tools that has links to a variety of products for protecting your privacy. 

Email Spying - A program that allows the sender of an e-mail message to see what has been written when the message is forwarded with comments to other recipients.

Solutions to email retention and electronic discovery issues?  

Authentica, Inc., announces the launch of a free Web service that lets users easily and securely share valuable digital information and actively control how it is used by recipients after delivery. 

With this service you can:

  • Manage the printing, copying or forwarding privileges that you give to recipients
  • Change these privileges anytime - even after delivery
  • Recall recipients' access to a document, even after it's on their desktop
  • Expire all copies of a document regardless of its location (e.g., on recipients' desktops, back-up media, etc.)
  • Track the activity of a document throughout its lifecycle

"Disappearing™ Email, analogous to a paper shredder, expires messages according to user or corporate determined schedules." 

Email encryption programs - See the PC World article on antivirus utilities, firewalls, file encryptors, and other PC protectors. 3/27/01

PGP Security offers a variety of security products, including email encryption products. Versions range from freeware with no support for personal use to full enterprise solutions. 

ZipLip - "was started with the goal of providing highly secure yet simple and usable messaging solutions for both businesses and individuals. ZipLip, Inc. provides advanced, secure messaging solutions for global enterprises, service providers, and businesses worldwide. ZipLip delivers enterprise applications, tools and interfaces that enable secure communications between users and applications, both within and outside the firewall. ZipLip also operates a service portal at that was the first to offer free, secure, web-based email and today serves the email needs of hundreds of thousands of users worldwide." 

ZixMail™ "is a simple solution to the increasingly critical problem of security and privacy on the Internet. . . . To your employees, vendors, and clients, ZixMail is just the easiest and most affordable way to send email that's private, secure, and certified."

Email Monitoring - While few employers have people actually monitoring employees' communications on an ongoing basis, electronic tools are making it more feasible to do this. That doesn't, however, mean that employers should take advantage of every tool available. 


2/05/01 - "The Privacy Foundation has recently learned of an exploit that allows the sender of an e-mail message to see what has been written when the message is forwarded with comments to other recipients. We have nicknamed this problem "e-mail wiretapping" because the exploit allows someone to surreptitiously monitor written messages attached to forwarded messages.

Some of the possible ways that this exploit might be used include:

 Monitoring the path of a confidential e-mail message and written comments attached.

 In a business negotiation conducted via e-mail, one side can learn inside information from the other side as the proposal is discussed through the recipient company's internal e-mail system.

 A bugged e-mail message could capture thousands of e-mail addresses as the forwarded message is sent around the world.

 Commercial entities, particularly those based offshore, may seek to offer e-mail wiretapping as a service."

Read the complete article, including detailed directions for configuring email programs to reduce this risk. 

Last updated: 05/07/01


Copyright 2001-2005 David A. Munn