Email: Are we all too reliant on our new best friend?

Schifreen, Robert
November 2004
SC Magazine: For IT Security Professionals (UK Edition);Nov2004, p12
This article discusses why people should not rely on e-mail completely. In most industries, e-mail is rarely a matter of life or death. But we all now live and breath e-mail, where once the phone ruled. For example, journalists who, 21 years ago, spent most of their working day on the phone, now rely on e-mail for most of their work. Clearly, e-mail rules. But the total reliance on a relatively immature technology has come about too quickly. There is never a 100% guarantee that a message you send will actually arrive. An incoming messages might actually be a virus. You might miss an important message because it was buried among hundreds of spams. Your incoming messages might be bounced by your service provider because you have exceeded your traffic quota. Your messages might be intercepted by a hacker and divulged to your competitors. A message might be a fake, which does not actually come from the person who name appears on the header. Any or all of which might mean that you miss out in a business meeting, a crucial deal, a fun night out, a new job, or a final chance to catch up with a friend 20 years' standing before they die. It was once the opinion that e-mail was more reliable than snail mail, and that following up e-mail was unnecessary. Nowadays, nobody can be sure.


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