Understanding Your Computer: Email Clients

The main difference between email clients is the user interface. Regardless of which software you decide to use, follow good security practices when reading or sending email.

How do email clients work?

Every email address has two basic parts: the user name and the domain name. When you are sending email to someone else, your domain's server has to communicate with your recipient's domain server.

Understanding Digital Signatures

The terms digital signature and electronic signature are sometimes confused or used interchangeably. While digital signatures are a form of electronic signature, not all electronic signatures are digital signatures. Electronic signatures—also called e-signatures—are any sound, symbol, or process that shows the intent to sign something. This could be a scan of your hand-written signature, a stamp, or a recorded verbal confirmation. An electronic signature could even be your typed name on the signature line of a document.

Using Caution with Email Attachments

While email attachments are a popular and convenient way to send documents, they are also a common source of viruses. Use caution when opening attachments, even if they appear to have been sent by someone you know.

Why can email attachments be dangerous?

Some of the characteristics that make email attachments convenient and popular are also the ones that make them a common tool for attackers:

Benefits of BCC

Although in many situations it may be appropriate to list email recipients in the To: or CC: fields, sometimes using the BCC: field may be the most desirable option.

What is BCC?

BCC, which stands for blind carbon copy, allows you to hide recipients in email messages. Addresses in the To: field and the CC: (carbon copy) field appear in messages, but users cannot see addresses of anyone you included in the BCC: field.

Why would you want to use BCC?

There are a few main reasons for using BCC:

Reducing Spam

Spam is a common, and often frustrating, side effect to having an email account. Although you will probably not be able to eliminate it, there are ways to reduce it.

What is spam?

Spam is the electronic version of “junk mail.” The term spam refers to unsolicited, often unwanted, email messages. Spam does not necessarily contain viruses—valid messages from legitimate sources could fall into this category.

How can you reduce the amount of spam?

Benefits and Risks of Free Email Services

Although free email services are convenient for sending personal correspondence, you should not use them to send messages containing sensitive information.

What is the appeal of free email services?

Many service providers offer free email accounts (e.g., Yahoo!, Hotmail, Gmail). These email services typically provide you with a browser interface to access your mail. In addition to the monetary savings, these services often offer other benefits:

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