E-Mail Encryption for the Masses

    Date13 Feb 2002
    CategoryCryptography
    3704
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    By some estimates, well over 900 million people -- nearly one out of every seven people on Earth -- have access to e-mail. Most of them are, or should be, familiar by now with the saying, "Sending e-mail is like sending . . . By some estimates, well over 900 million people -- nearly one out of every seven people on Earth -- have access to e-mail. Most of them are, or should be, familiar by now with the saying, "Sending e-mail is like sending a postcard over the Internet." In other words, most people now realize that what are intended to be personal messages can become public documents on the Web if the sender is careless.

    There are e-mail encryption options, including a software program called PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) that is free to use and distribute. So, in this time of heightened awareness about security and privacy issues, why doesn't everyone use it?

    "It really boils down to what your take on security is," Mark McArdle of Network Associates, which offers PGP-related services, told NewsFactor. "A lot of people do get the freeware and download it -- one click, easy-to-use encryption -- and they secure their communications, which certainly isn't national security-related. "Other people don't have that urgency to protect their e-mail," he said. "They have the mindset, perhaps, of, 'Well, who really cares?'"

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