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#131187 - 04/03/03 01:18 AM Dead E-mails?
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
I was wondering, what happens to your e-mail messages after you delete them or you remove them from your Trash(garbge) can?
Normally this would not pose a problem, but what if that email contains material that you no longer need, but you want no one else to see, say, commercially-sensitive data, etc.
Also, I have heard, that sending an e-mail, is just like sending a post-card through the snail-mail system(anyone can read it on the way), is this true?.
Your thoughts please-
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#131188 - 04/03/03 05:47 AM Re: Dead E-mails?
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
Trumpy,

Not an expert on these things, but my understanding is that once they are 'removed' from the trash they are still there but the space that they occupy is now available to be overwriten by other data. So, it may actually be recoverable for some unspecified amount of time using the right tools.

On the Email issue, could you please send them slower I can't read that fast as they go by me. - just kidding.

Bill

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#131189 - 04/03/03 05:49 AM Re: Dead E-mails?
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Yes, anybody can read your e-mail at any system it passes through. It's by no means a secure system. If you want to be sure that no-one knows what you're saying, then you'd have to encrypt your message.

As for deleted messages, any stored on your own system will go by whatever method your system uses. Under DOS and most other operating systems, deleting a file doesn't actually erase the data; it simply marks the disk sectors which held that file as free, so that they can be re-used when needed.

As for the server which holds your mail, the same constraints apply (chances are your server is running Unix), plus extras such as how long the ISP keeps old messages before deleting them, how long they maintain backups of your data, etc.

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#131190 - 04/03/03 05:55 AM Re: Dead E-mails?
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Bill,
 Quote:
So, it may actually be recoverable for some unspecified amount of time using the right tools.


It is indeed. I've pieced files back together sector by sector myself in the past.

DOS (many other systems work in a similar way) stores both a directory and a file-allocation table (FAT) on the disk.

The directory holds details of the filenames, date/time stamps, and so on, plus a pointer to the first sector for the file. The FAT then acts as a linked list, pointing to the next sector, then the next, and so on.

Deleting a file erases the directory entry and marks all those sectors as free in the FAT. Next time a new file has to be created on the disk, the operating systsm selects free sectors based on the entries in the FAT.

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#131191 - 04/03/03 10:18 AM Re: Dead E-mails?
ThinkGood Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 1084
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Also, most large companies keep copies of e-mail (mind you, I am referring to the USA--please refer to your local privacy laws) and in some cases they are required by law to keep them.

Here are some Enron e-mails courtesy of the US government

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#131192 - 04/24/03 04:57 PM Re: Dead E-mails?
kale Offline
Member

Registered: 11/08/02
Posts: 168
If the ones on your own hard drive are a concern, you could try a program like McAfee's file shredder, which will clean up deleted files and write over the old data. I've recently heard that information can be recovered from a hard drive by a pro after it's been written over up to 6 times.

If you're not that concerned, after deleting the files on your hard drive, run defrag, this will probably write over the empty space when it moves files.

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#131193 - 04/24/03 09:48 PM Re: Dead E-mails?
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
kale,
Thanks a heap for your advice.
It's just that from time to time, I send commercially-sensitive info through to a number of suppliers and also have a fair few of my work documents, that I don't personally want other people reading.
Things like recent quotes and the like.
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