Privacy is a hot topic at the moment. The conduct of journalists hacking into the voicemails of high profile individuals created such a media storm that the press are under more scrutiny than ever. Consequently though it raises questions about the security of all our communication methods – chief amongst them is email.
Interception of emails by government bodies
The American NSA body made headlines last year when it was revealed it had been intercepting emails from over a billion people across the world, with their UK counterpart the GCHQ taking part in similarly uncomfortable practices.
The prospect of government interception of emails is widely debated, with opposing perspectives about its morality and necessity. What’s accepted universally is a burgeoning requirement to safeguard our communications both domestically and in business environments. The threat of sensitive emails being accessed by malicious forces is an incessant threat in itself, but there’s also the more traditional threat of damaging software that can infiltrate your hardware via email.
Where the UK and the US are similar, is in their vigilance countering these attempts at infiltration. Especially with international banks and institutions now at risk, there is a need to unite and conquer groups or individuals who would exploit weaknesses in our networks.
Cloud computing, while it has proved to be a modernizing force in the business community, carries its own set of risks. Using a flexible network is a must for a modern business, but it means that the information (including emails) stored on it can be vulnerable if the right precautions aren’t already in place. Cloud email by Mimecast is an example of an international resource which supports the security interests of UK and US industries.
You might also be interested in: 5 Extra Measures To Protect Your Information In The Cloud
Mobile devices are another shared vulnerability. While the dominating forces of iOS and Android devices offer wildly different interfaces, their capacity to support internet communications makes them a gateway for potential attack. In the interests of industry growth, the US and UK operate fairly liberal approaches to the publishing of apps. This means there is considerable scope for rogue apps that can bury deep into the device’s inner workings and monitor the data coming to or from it. And even despite Apple’s vetting of its App Store, it isn’t considered muchsafer than an Android device.
While there are compliance and data retention rules in place, an international standard for the protection of shared information via email is largely assumed and is fraught with difficulties relating to who has the right to view what information and who that data belongs to once it has been communicated and exists on a system. If businesses conduct themselves responsibly by putting measures in place to protect their customers, while balancing it with best practice for flexible business operations, there can be a happy medium of safety vs. convenience. But until such a standard is agreed there will be a continuing risk, certainly between the US and the UK, of hackers or other forces (noble or otherwise) accessing information uninvited.
Related post you might like reading: 5 Tips to Stay Anonymous on the Web