The Internet is providing millions the convenience of working in virtual offices, making transactions in various kinds of businesses, and accessing a vast collection of data. But while it is considered a haven for many reasons, it is also a feared arena that many people do not venture into without being armed with security software. And they have reason to be extra cautious. Lately, sophisticated viruses are attacking even the most secure sites, corrupting files and stealing identities. Hackers are getting in and out of personal and private accounts. And viruses are not the only means through which they get what they want. They can also attack through WiFi and LAN connections.
In a world where personal identities can easily be stolen and where corporate sabotage is always a possibility, there is no harm in taking extra precautions. Large corporations protect their trade secrets by using a technology that has formerly been used exclusively by the military and government agencies: encryption. Encryption can be used to hide file contents from unauthorized people. One of its applications is protecting electronic mail sent through the Internet.
E-mail is often targeted by hackers as a vehicle to carry viruses or gain access to more addresses. People with malicious intent can easily poke into E-mail that is not protected, especially in environments where file sharing is common and Internet or peer-to-peer networks are unsecured.
Basic encryption works by using a program called Pretty Good Privacy or PGP. The system uses keys to encrypt or transform the E-mail into an indiscernible file. Only the person with the decryption key can process and access the file.
There are many levels of encryption—from simple to very complex, depending on the intensity of security coverage you need. Most electronic mail service providers provide simple and fast encryption options. Examine the firewall you use to discern the effectiveness of your encryption against possible hacker attacks.
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