Everyday User Security 2: Protect Your Email Address

By: Tim Teatro

July 11, 2010

More coverage:
Everyday User Security 1: Keep your passwords strong

It’s becoming more difficult every day to preserve our privacy and anonymity on the net. The consequences of this range from serious security issues and identity theft to minor annoyances such as spam. In this security series, I’ll be covering several methods to help keep your privacy, but today I thought I would cover a few neat little tricks to protect your email address from spammers.

Think back over the years and imagine how many times you’ve entered your email address on some forum to sign up for a posting board or to access a download. Every time you do, you risk having your email address sold to a spammer or otherwise used to send you junk you don’t want. Of course, you could provide a fake address, but many of these sites require you to confirm your email address, by clicking on a link in an email that they send you.

When you come to one of these sites, the first thing you should ask yourself is whether or not you really need what’s on the other side of that form you’re filling out. If you do, then don’t for a minute think of using your real email address, name or anything else you want to keep private. If the forum requires you to sign up using a real email address, then try these steps.

Go to www.bugmenot.com and enter the address of the site you’re trying to enter. It might offer you a list of username/password combinations that have already been signed up for, so that you do not need to sign up at all. This works well when you need a throw away one time only solution.

If you need to sign up, and use an address to confirm, then use a disposable email address from http://disposeamail.com/ or http://spamgourmet.com/.

Disposeamail works very well, but the email sent to a disposeamail account is not password protected, and so, there is no privacy. Spamgourmet on the other hand requires a little more effort to set up, but you not only have password protection, but a neat little feature that allows you to define the lifetime of an address. For example, if you define an address as, for example, xyz.5.tim@spamgourmet.com, the address will accept only 5 emails from a particular source. If you use spamgourmet, please consider donating to them. These services are free to use, but not free to operate.

With these options in hand, you should never have to give away your private email address to anyone you wouldn’t want to receive an email from. Always take steps to guard your privacy and anonymity on the net.

The Everyday User Security series:

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  1. Pingback: WYT Article – Everyday User Security 2: Protect Your Email Address – t-square

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