Cybersecurity and Email
By Dr. Jane A. LeClair, President, Washington Center for Cybersecurity Research & Development.
What you put in your emails is not, repeat, not, safe from prying eyes and kept strictly confidential by those you send to.
There was a time when what you wrote in a letter or jotted down in a memo could be tossed in the trash, shredded or burned and it was gone for good. The letter was buried deep in a garbage dump, torn into miniscule pieces or turned to ashes. It was gone...poof...no record, no evidence of what may or may not have been said or planned.
Technology has changed all that of course. By some estimates over 200 billion emails were sent and received last year by over 2 billion email users. Those emails don't just disappear once the 'Send' button was pushed, many now reside somewhere in the world in some server or computer hard drive....waiting. While users have generated a huge amount of emails, even more text messages are generated each year. Heather Kelly reports that Americans sent over 6 billion text messages each day, and in one year the global count reached a staggering 8.6 trillion messages.
All that information, much of it sensitive in nature is out there, archived, waiting to be retrieved for one purpose or another. The question is, for what purpose will it be retrieved, and should you really take the chance that what you email/text will never surface to haunt you in the future.
Remember that your emails remain forever. There is an old saying that says "Don't do anything you don't want to see in the headlines of the local newspaper". Print may have transitioned to electronic data, but the idea remains the same, so before you press that 'send' button, think about the content!
Kelly, H. (2012). OMG, the text message turns 20. But has SMS peaked? Retrieved at http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/03/tech/mobile/sms-text-message-20/index.html
2015. Email Statistics Report, 2015-2019. The Radicati Group, Inc. Retrieved at http://radicati.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Email-Statistics-Report-2015-2019-Executive-Summary.pdf.