New Literature: E-Mail Security

  • Electronics Now
  • September 1995

Today, messages can be sent by computer modem a lot faster than they can by sent by the traditional services from messenger and postal system to Federal Express or UPS. However, in transmitting over open telephone lines, your message is far more vulnerable to interception by unwanted persons than ever before. So you have a tradeoff between speed and security.

This book is all about how to regain some or all of the privacy 10st to E-mail. The average electronic mail message passes through a half dozen intermediate stages between its source and its destination, and there are no laws to prevent prying eyes from reading that message.

You probably don’t want coworkers, hackers, or even your supervisor to read you messages. Worse yet they might be intercepted by business competitors or others intent on prying into your personal affairs. In the absence of laws governing the interception of E-mail (which perhaps could not really be enforced anyway), you are responsible for protecting your own computer communications.

Bruce Schneier tells you how to do so. He has divided his book into two sections. The first section is devoted to the issues of privacy, electronic mail, encryption, authentication, and keeping your private “key” private. The roles of patents, government, and export laws are examined.

The second section focuses on achieving E- mail privacy. It warns users about how messages are intercepted, read, copied, and even (in some cases) altered for malicious purposes. The author explains how you can avoid those breaches of privacy.

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.