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Chapter 1. Beware Potential Perils > E-Mail Is Never Secure

E-Mail Is Never Secure

If you are using e-mail to send personal or confidential messages, beware. E-mail may be the quickest form of written communication, but it is far from the most secure. You may intend to send a confidential e-mail message to one person, but it is easy to hit the wrong key and accidentally send your message to an unintended reader or multiple addresses stored in your electronic address book. If your recipient forwards your message to others, the e-mail you intended as a “for-your-eyes-only” document could be read by dozens, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of strangers.

Real-Life E-Disaster

A young woman in England sent her boyfriend an e-love note complimenting him on an evening of passion. The woman’s message was so flattering, her boyfriend decided to forward it to a half-dozen male friends employed by London-based law firms and banks with international offices. Those men in turn forwarded the love-struck woman’s message to their friends and colleagues around the world. That very personal e-mail ended up traveling to 10 million computer screens in London, Australia, Hong Kong, and the United States. An international media sensation followed, with The New York Times, Today show, and media outlets around the globe reporting the story, and the relentless London tabloids driving the mortified writer into hiding.[8]


[8] T. Shawn Taylor, “E-Lessons,” Chicago Tribune, February 14, 2001.


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