Email is one of the most revolutionary inventions in the past decade. The way it allows us to send instant mail to people all over the globe has made it commonly used for everyday communications with everyone from friends to the bank to your colleges at work.
In recent years however this comfortable and easy way of communicating has become a victim of its own technology. As easy as it is to send an email, any unwanted third part with the right equipment can view your private email correspondences while they are being sent through cyberspace. One of the scariest things is that you might never know about it.
If we go just 20 years back in time, it was easy to make a jurisdiction weather a private letter had been read, simply by the condition of the envelope it was in.
This ‘seal’ of security however does not exist in modern email. Last time you received an email it might actually have been read by a third part before you received it. Just like a post card without an envelope, your email can be read by anyone who passes by.
Now you might think, “who would ever read my emails?” Well – probably more people than you think. For example both the British and the American government have for years now gathered random emails from people all over the world as a surveillance of the population. Email technology is simply betraying the individuals right of privacy while aiding the evolving big brother society. A scary thought yes, but even worse are individual cases where an unprotected email system can have serious outcomes.
Imagine if someone read your private communications with your physician and maybe even used your medical record against you.
Or think about how easy it is for one part in a divorce settlement, to sneak in the other parts email correspondence with his/her lawyer and thereby make sure to ruin their case before they go to court.
For companies, ordinary email correspondence can lead to major information breaches if a disloyal employee decides to leak or sell confidential information. In the same way a competitor will not have any problems spying on a company’s emails regarding breakthrough technology and steel it before it reaches the market.
So how can we as individuals and professionals protect ourselves from technology that has become both necessary in everyday life and yet full of security breaches?
Surely the most obvious way of keeping confidential information confidential remains meeting in person with whoever is your conversation partner and talk face to face. This however takes away all the comfortable features that email has given us, and brings us back to basics with everything that follows in loss of time and travel expenses.
The ‘old fashion way’ of using ordinary mail instead of emailing is also a solution, but this increases respond time and still bares the risk of having your communications read.
There is a way though to optimize the security of your communications without losing the benefits of email. By using encryption software on your emails you can make sure that only the intended receiver of your email will be able to view your message. Everyone else who track your emails while being sent through the Internet will only see an incomprehensible code unbreakable to humans as well as computers.
While the ease of intruding in other people’s private matters increase, fact is that we must either be more aware of what we send around on the internet, or start to take the necessary precautions and protect our emails with encryption – just as an envelope once protected the security of our most private letters – but now taken to the next level by digitally creating a lock on the envelope, which code only the receiver of the letter knows.
Innovative Technologies for Secure E-mail and Telephony Communications
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