21 October 2014

Who is reading your emails?


Amber Melville-Brown

Partner | UK

Improvements to internet access mean that you can read your e-mails or surf the web from anywhere in your house or garden.

But, what about the pavement outside your house or the house next door? Unless your network is secure, it is surprisingly easy for an opportunist hacker to benefit from your network connection and even to read your e-mails if your account is open.

Simply because this problem has not yet had the same level of prominence which the media has given to phone hacking, does not mean that it cannot and will not happen to you.

To avoid this please ensure that:

  • any wi-fi network you have at home is security locked. Whilst a geographically close opportunist may be able to see that the network exists, they will not be able to hack into your internet connection or read your e-mails;
  • the factory setting pin codes and security passes are changed on any wi-fi box that you have purchased from a supplier. Each provider’s codes will be sequential and potentially identifiable, and should be replaced with a safe alternative.

You talking to me?

Have you ever sent an e-mail to the wrong person? It can be embarrassing at best and a disaster at worse. Check the intended recipients before you press send. For a long and potentially contentious reply (and see other advice below), consider removing the names and reinserting them when you are ready and happy with the content.

Stringing them along

Long e-mail strings can be dangerous. Recipients can change and content be added of which you may be unaware. Consider starting a new chain or at least ensure that you check the entire string that you are forwarding before sending it on.

Defamation warning

An e-mail is not a chat over the coffee machine or the place for a hot-headed response. It is a permanent publication that can give rise to a claim in defamation by a third party. Check your content to avoid threats or action.

Privacy warning

At the click of a mouse an e-mail containing private and confidential information can be forwarded without your authorisation or control to many and it can happen quickly. Don’t start the leak, unintended or otherwise; it could lead to an all out flood.

Count to ten

Count to ten before you send. Make time if possible to come back to a potentially contentious e-mail after a moment or two of reflection. Imagine your e-mail being read out in court and ask yourself, is that what I want to say and how I want to say it?

If you suspect that your internet connection or e-mails may have been hacked, please feel free to contact the Media and Reputation team for further information.

Amber Melville-Brown

Partner | London

Category: Article