The Daily Dose Blog The Daily Dose Blog Home

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.

More on MSN Living: 50 things everyone should know about marriage

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.”

More on MSN Living: The top 10 traits women want in a man

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

Subscribe to the Daily Dose

 More from MSN Living:
25 things she finds sexiest about you
8 words that give away a liar
The trends men love ... and the ones they hate


Nov 24, 2012 11:30PM
Nov 24, 2012 11:29PM
Nov 22, 2012 6:30AM
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!

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

George Orwell 1984.

FEDS in everyones business.

Nov 22, 2012 12:49AM

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
Happy Thanksgiving
MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nov 22, 2012 12:39AM
 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 .   
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

inspire: live a better life

  • Off-season vacation destinations

    The 10 best off-season vacation deals in the world

    Summer and winter tend to hog all the glory when it comes to travel high seasons. Sure, you want to soak up all the time at the beach you can during the summer, and you just want to escape the cold during the last months of the year.

  • Best places for fall foliage

    The 16 best places to see fall foliage

    Who just wants to stand around and watch the red and gold leaves slowly fall from their tree branches to the ground as we move from summer to fall? Instead, take in the changing seasons while you're on the move.

  • 30 things you learn in your 30s

    30 things that will (probably) happen in your 30s

    In September, I'll turn 38. I'm at the age now where, when people ask how old I am, it takes me a minute to remember. I don't know if that's because I've already been 37 different ages and it's hard to keep straight which one I am now, or if it's because I'm in denial, or if it's because I am going senile. Maybe a combination of all of the above. Regardless, my 30s have flown by and soon they will be but a memory. So, in an effort to preserve the memory I have left (or at least keep a record of it), and to celebrate what has been an amazing decade so far, here are 30 things that have happened to me in my 30s (and will probably happen to you too):

  • Great travel tech gadgets

    The 8 best travel tech accessories for every trip

    Traveling doesn't have to be stressful. And what you can fit in your carry-on can make all the difference (and not just a fresh pair of socks), especially when you get that low battery signal.

  • The Science

    5 surprising ways to live longer

    Volunteering (and these other rituals) might be just as good as exercise when it comes to extending your life.

  • Don’t hit snooze

    7 cures for a case of the Mondays

    Use these tricks to set a better tone for the rest of the week.

  • King's Night: Amsterdam, Holland

    The 10 wildest celebrations in the world

    Whether it involves a food fight, mermaids or a torch-lit procession, people the world over know how to have a good time. Here are some of the biggest, boldest, booziest celebrations around, along with some tips to get the full experience.

  • green brain image (Courtesy of Newser)

    Scientists turn bad memories to happy ones

    Research could mean more effective treatment for human disorders.

  • Cultura\Getty Images(Cultura\Getty Images)

    4 reasons journaling is good for you

    An entry a day might keep the doctor away (or at least the shrink).

  • Getty Images(Getty Images)

    Appreciating the Small Things in Life

    One woman's shout-outs to daily moments of joy — and how to cultivate them.

  • Woman jogging (Photo: Huffington Post)
  • Getty Images // Magazine

    Little ways to feel healthier and happier

    Our best health and fitness tips including the one move that tones all, berry news, and more.

about rich maloof
buzzing now on msn living
inspire videos
editor's picks