As we know, it is possible to spoof an email sender’s name, so now the question of how to authenticate the sender has become even more important, since email has been used to send sensitive information.

In the recent case of Gov. Sarah Palin’s email, her email account got hacked and the hacker posted the screen shot of her email to WikiLeaks. Freedom of information laws require messages from government email accounts to be placed into the public record, so some public officials try to use Yahoo/Gmail to keep the information out of public scrutiny.

First of all public figures should avoid using public email addresses and even if you do don’t make it so obvious by naming it eponymously as did Gov.Palin. This information is owned by the commercial email sites and system administrators can see the email in the mailbox and can capture the text in transit. In commercial sites you will draw a great amount of attention, If you happen to be a high profile figure.

Second, perhaps we should not use commercial channels for private or sensitive information. If it’s necessary to use email as for sensitive information, make sure your email is encrypted in accordance with the Advanced Encryption Standard.

Third, two factor authentication for sensitive email is industry standard now, which requires the user to possess something (Token) and something only the user knows (Password or PIN). Two factor authentications provide identity theft protection.

Finally, strong authentication is a solution to secure identities and use of the Advanced Encryption Standard minimizes the exposure of email content.

How to forge email addresses

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