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JIPS 2010 6.1 Article 2

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Prod. Code: JIPS2010-6.1Art2

Is Your Email Box Safe?

Feng Zhang, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden, fengz@kth.se
Rasika Dayarathn, Stockholm University, Sweden, si-ika@dsv.su.se


Electronic mail (email) is a widely adopted communication mechanism often used to communicate sensitive and confidential information. Therefore, safeguarding the security of email accounts and letters has become an important issue. There are frequent media reports pertaining to security problems with email accounts. Therefore, studies on strengths, limitations, and possible improvements about email security are essential. This paper examined security and privacy protection mechanisms of four leading email service providers: Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, and AOL Mail. A number of observations and experiments were conducted in order to understand existing security and privacy protection mechanisms of these providers. After that, this paper proposes some recommended protection mechanisms, which can be implemented by service providers, system developers, and email users. This study also explores several research avenues for academia.