Professional Journal Summary #2 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Protect Your E-mail

By: Bruce Schneier

Macworld, November 1995

Professional Journal Summary #2

Submitted by: Ladd Kocinski

In Bruce Schneiers article Protect Your E-Mail he talked about encryption programs available to ensure privacy and security for E-Mail users. He explained that when the Internet was first introduced it was designed specifically as a public network for sharing information. Since availability of information was the priority, provisions for security were not considered essential, but now that it has expanded into business and correspondence, security is a major concern. He mentioned a number of security programs available and basically how they work. Some security programs mentioned were PGP, Mailsafe, Secret-Agent, and Folderbolt Pro. The problem with many of these programs is the person sending and the person receiving must be on the same program. They basically all encrypt the message and in order to decode the message the person must have additional information.

He gives ten tips for Internet privacy.

1 Choose a pass phrase that is hard to guess. Dont use English words. The best phrases contain nonalphanumeric characters and both upper and lower case letters (example: Channel #5).

2 Change your pass phrase regularly.

3 If you access your account from a public place change your pass phrase as soon as practical afterward.

4 Dont give out personal information to strangers on the Internet.

5 Dont save sensitive files in your Internet account.

6 E-mail messages are like post cards. Dont use unencrypted E-mail to send receive or store anything you want to keep private.

7 Think of E-mail as a shared file system.

8 Dont leave your computer with your E-mail window open.

9 Review messages carefully before you send them. Dont say anything you may regret later.

10 Dont send your credit card number unencrypted over E-mail.

The program offerings and their need is certainly glaringly apparent. After reading this article, one must remember to always keep in mind who might be reading the messages. The ten tips for Internet privacy should be kept handy for the beginner until familiar with the system and how it works One must carefully watch any personal information they might make available.

Business transactions, mail, and correspondence are extremely private and not knowing E-mail risks could be disastrous for anyone assuming security is in place.

-- Anonymous, May 12, 1999

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