Email Security and Privacy

There are many myths surrounding security on the web, but for most people the risks are minimal. It is extremely unlikely that unauthorised people will intercept your e-mail, and in the event that someone does read your e-mail it is often very difficult for anyone else (except the e-mail provider) to link it to your real world identity.

In reality your identity is most likely to be compromised by people accessing your computer either at home or in the office.

E-mail correspondence is comparable in some respects with sending a post card, when the card is waiting to be posted those around you have an opportunity to read it, and if you send it from a large office the post room can read it. Once it is posted it could still be read by workers in the post office if they wanted to, but considering the amount they deal with they are unlikely to be that interested. In the same way the reply to your message is most vulnerable when the 'postcard' is laying around waiting for you to read it.

If no one else has access to your 'post' then this is not a problem, but if you share your e-mail system or computer with others in the home or office then you may prefer to use one of the many Webmail systems. These are the web equivalent of a P.O. box, where you collect your mail from your Webmail provider. These allow you to access your mail from any computer when online, and do not usually store files on your computer. Popular webmail providers include Google Mail, Yahoo , HushMail and HotMail

The sites that you visit (including this one and Webmail sites) are recorded in the browser, this can be dealt with by clearing the history trail in your browser, this is particularly important if you are sharing the use of a browser, such as in an Internet cafe when it is also advisable to close the browser after use.

The exact procedure for clearing the history varies between browsers so you may need to use your browser's help files to find out how to do it.

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