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8. When you exchange e-mail with a colleague, it may seem like a cozy, private conversation. "Legally and technologically, however, you are as exposed as dummies in a department store window." Just as the mailman and others have an opportunity to read a postcard, network eavesdroppers can read your e-mail as it passes through the Internet from computer to computer. E-mail is transmitted over a public network where you have no right to expect privacy. It is not like a telephone call, where privacy rights are protected by law.

Classified information must never be sent via e-mail under any circumstances. Procedures for handling sensitive but unclassified information vary depending upon sensitivity.  Follow your company or organization's established procedures. Keep in mind that any transmission of sensitive information by e-mail or via any other nonsecure telephone, fax, or computer network greatly increases the risk that information will be intercepted.

In addition to lack of privacy, e-mail also has other vulnerabilities"

Related Topics: E-Mail Pitfalls, Using the Internet Securely.