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Wake-up call: Your email is not safe

Think yours is secure? So did the director of the CIA.

By Rich_Maloof Nov 19, 2012 7:03PM

By now it’s obvious to anyone paying attention that David Petraeus was as unwilling or unable to secure his email as he was to secure his belt buckle. If the director of one of the world’s greatest intelligence agencies could not manage to protect his digital communications, what hope do the rest of us have?

If your email privacy has never been invaded, there’s really only one explanation: No one has wanted to yet.

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Of the many confusing factors in the Petraeus scandal, one nagging head-scratcher is how the top spy in the United States could get busted via email. Don’t these guys use invisible ink or embed chips under their skin anymore? You can get a secret decoder ring in a box of Cap’n Crunch that offers more security than Petraeus and his paramour employed.

Their first Photo: Indigo/Getty Imagesmistake, aside from their personal indiscretions, was using a Web-based email account. Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell thought they were being pretty clever by not exchanging emails between them; instead, they opened a Gmail account and saved messages to each other in a drafts folder, a tactic that had been used previously by terrorists.

That may have kept their spouses from discovering emails on a laptop, but it wouldn’t even protect someone involved in a minor lawsuit. As the New York Times has noted, courts wield search-and-subpoena powers enabling a lawyer from the other side to access emails and info on a computer, on a smartphone or stored on a cloud. Tick off the authorities with a potential breach of national security, and you can bet they will be up in your stuff faster than you can say “empty trash.”

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Their second major flub was not masking Broadwell’s IP address, the Internet Protocol number that identifies an individual device. Though the shared Gmail account was ostensibly anonymous, Broadwell never cloaked the IP address when using her computer on hotel Wi-Fi networks. When she harassed Jill Kelley using the same computer, Kelley forwarded the messages to the F.B.I., who were easily able to cross-reference IP addresses on hotel Wi-Fi’s with hotel guest lists and track the computer to Broadwell.

Despite the many missteps of an intelligence expert who should have known better, there are numerous options for covering — or obliterating — your digital tracks, from virtual private networks that offer protection on public Wi-Fi’s to encryption services to email messages that self-destruct on a timer. But the only surefire method to avoiding the discovery of wrongdoing, online or off, is not doing wrong in the first place.

Photo: Indigo/Getty Images

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25Comments
Nov 24, 2012 11:30PM
Nov 24, 2012 11:29PM
Nov 22, 2012 6:30AM
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Email, Texting, Computer ANYTHING is NOT SAFE! Ever!!

Yet, we are all can't live without it the COMPUTER/IPAD, IPHONE/ LAPTOP
 We will have to learn to be just like our CARS  DEFENSIVE DRIVERS
 Something can always HAPPEN!!!

Be super vigilant and very careful!
BIG BROTHER IS EVERYWHERE!!!

Aye Por Favor Gente! Cuidate! 
Nov 22, 2012 1:19AM
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Ms. Broadwell's book will be released soon. Look for it..."The Spy Who Shagged Me."
Nov 22, 2012 1:13AM
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George Orwell 1984.

FEDS in everyones business.

Nov 22, 2012 12:49AM
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That was pure luck finding Spy email.  Okay!  there is at least 10 milliion emails posted per hour and another 10 million Tweets/Text mails at same rate. Then add all the other countless things by Skype/ VOiP/Cellular phones.

 There are over 7 Billion people in the world and about 40 percent of us have access to some form of communication devices.

  So tell me it wasn't luck to find a Top Spy among all this crap.

Words don't kill. People do.

  So if I was planning to kill someone, don't you think it be easier to do it rather than emailing it so someone will know what I'm up to.  Use common sense, here in the United States we have Freedom of Speech.  Words don't kill but  the Actions by people do.

 

Another stupid artical by MSN.  GET A LIFE MSN !!!!!

Nov 22, 2012 12:45AM
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Happy Thanksgiving
and
MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nov 22, 2012 12:39AM
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 It's unfortunate , but this is the type of people we have in our government . Large egos and not a bit of creditability , honesty , or morals . It's all we have to choose from now in our society . Honesty , morals , creditability , accountability are no longer the norms . We live in an anything goes society . You get what you condone baby .   
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