Email Piracy and Privacy
August 28, 2000

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Reaching Great Minds Online
August 28, 2000 Issue #58
Mike Valentine, Editor,


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==> Feature: Email Piracy? Email Privacy!
==> Guest Article: Old Dogs and New Tricks!
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Email Piracy, Email Privacy?
by Mike Banks Valentine

How much sensitive information do you send via email? Email
piracy is usually not a major issue for small businesses
online. If only because there's not enough *money* at stake
for expensive industrial espionage and undercutting by
competitors who beat you to the punch in launching a new
idea because they worked out how to intercept your emails
to a business partner.

I have signed fairly high-level Non-Disclosure Agreements
and faxed them over non-secured phone lines and discussed
them via email as we negotiate terms or propose changes to
sensitive parts of a contract. I have discussed important
decisions by email and brainstormed new ideas for incredible
new internet businesses with start-up firms risking their
financial future on an idea. Just a delicate idea, that if
stolen, could mean financial ruin for a few individuals.

But nobody I've ever dealt with has even once expressed any
concern that their email could be intercepted and read by a
third party while in transit across the web. It's possible
but improbable that corporate spies or simply your neighbors
twelve-year-old may be able to access your email as it zips
across the span of the back yard phone line past his bedroom
window, via those little copper wires.

Well unless you are a criminal, a spy, or a brilliant
scientist with a billion dollar idea - it's not likely you'll
care if any of your email communications are intercepted in
transit online. But if you do have reason to keep your
communications private, say sensitive company information
meant for clients eyes only or a letter of resignation for
your boss or even that private conversation with a friend or
lover, sit up and pay attention.

There is a simple, if time-consuming way to have your email
encrypted for privacy and signed for authenticity that is
rarely used. You might consider going through the process
of applying for a digital certificate for your email client.

This is a multi-step process done online through one of
several cerificate authorities or an email privacy service,
such as one called ( ).
If you use them, you are announcing to the world that your
email is private, since you become ""
It seems a bit incongruous but does make a statement.

In the case of the PrivacyX service, you are applying for
what amounts to an email service, either paid, or free in
this case. You can arrange to open this account directly
with PrivacyX and direct all your private email through
*their* service via your own Internet Service Provider's
email network.

PrivacyX collects little personal information and claims
that your email is secure from any prying eyes in transit
since it is encrypted and cannot be read unless the recipient
has a copy of your "Public Key" as it is referred to. Your
Digital Certificate that is saved by your email software to
identify you to those you *want* to receive and un-encrypt
your new private emails.

They have a rather long process to put you through with two
tutorials which show you how to set up either Explorer or
NetScape to accept their "root certificate". This digital
certificate identifies you as the *owner* of the PrivacyX
account and allows your emails to be encrypted by your email
software. Be prepared for anywhere between a half-hour to an
hour to set this up for your new account.

Then you establish passwords and save a copy of your new
certificate to removable disks so that you can keep a backup
to be able to access your own mail should your computer ever
crash or the information in your software become corrupted.

You can also do nearly the same process with either of
several certificate issuing authorities online. Two related
companies that offer these certificates are Verisign and
Thawte, which is owned by Verisign, (go figure) at and at .
The Verisign version costs $14.95 yearly and the Thawte
version is free, with the ability to upgrade to a
paid version they call the "Web of Trust".

Both of these certificate issuing authorities offer the
same long process of setting up your account and send you
emails to verify your address before providing usernames
and passwords to access and "install" your new certificate.

When you apply for the Thawte certificate, you will have to
swallow a big "trust-me" pill as they require extensive
information about you, including social security number or
driver license number along with five (yes, I said FIVE!)
reminder clues to retrieve your password should you ever
forget or misplace it. The application process offers some
very long, if occassionally humorous text in the
instructions and warns you sternly to "WRITE DOWN YOUR
PASSWORD AND REMEMBER IT" or it will be very difficult to

So if you're just in the habit of telling embarrassing
personal secrets or gossiping to friends and family, it's
probably not worth the effort and energy to encrypt and
sign your emails. But if you are doing serious business
online and need to email sensitive contracts, non-
discolosure agreements or million dollar ideas, consider
applying for PrivacyX email or a digital certificate.

The digital signature allows you to assert that you *are*
who you say you are via email and encrypt your messages so
they can't be read if intercepted by prying eyes or even
nosy neighbors. Maybe you just want to be certain that
it is your mother you are talking to and not a houseguest
that signed on to the web on her computer and downloaded
her email. The passwords and encryption take a few extra
minutes and if you are using netscape, you'll have to go
through an additional step to set up another user profile.

Or there is also the option of being sweet and innocent
with no secrets and nothing to hide! ;-)


Mike Banks Valentine operates WebSite101 Short Course, Small
Business Internet Tutorial

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************ COOL TOOL! ***********

Recently I discovered a neat way to prevent people from gathering
your email address from your website, and then prepare a list
for spamming. It is simple, effective and FREE. Furthermore,
your email address may be shown on your site and used legitimately.
What a combination! I have tried it and it works beautifully.

Go to the mailto Encoder page of the SiteUp Network, at

At the site, enter your email address and hit the Encoder key.
Shortly thereafter, you will receive an email message, with
HTML code to copy and paste onto any webpage. Make sure there
are no spaces within the code. That is it.

The result is your email address on the page. When clicked upon,
an email message form appears with the correct email address.
HOWEVER, no current program can search the underlying code on
the page and find this email address to place on a SPAM list.

This is one blow against SPAM. Visit the site and gain a little
peace of mind.

Thank you to Paul -the soarING- Siegel of
for this great cool tool! Join his business discussion list at:

************ COOL TOOL! ************


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Old Dogs and New Tricks
by Gary Lockwood

"You can't teach an old dog new tricks."

How many times have you heard this old saying as an excuse
for not trying something new or avoiding a fresh approach?

The expert animal trainers say that a dog of almost any age can
learn new tricks. It's the human animal that makes choices
regarding when and how much to learn.

I'm constantly amazed at how frequently I hear one of my CEO
clients say, "I'm too old to change."

Nonsense! This is simply an excuse to sidestep the effort
required to learn or experiment.

When you try something new, you often feel uneasy about it, and
frequently pull back. The security feels good. You are in your
"comfort zone"

Your personal "comfort zone" is where you are comfortable in what
you are doing in your job, your life and your experiences. It is when
you have no feelings of risk or anxiety. Some would call it "being
comfortable". You could also call it "a rut".

The downside of always staying in your comfort zone is that it can
be very limiting.

Why is this significant?

The past few decades have seen enormous and accelerating
changes in technology and social structure, in geopolitics and
especially in the organizations in which we work. The pace of
change is staggering and daunting. The mass of information
available to humankind is doubling every 20 months.

The world passes us by as we stand still. Complacency, in our
fast-paced competitive world, can be fatal to business and severely
limit personal and professional growth. If you are not learning,
trying new things and growing, your job or business may be deteriorating.

Having a positive attitude toward learning and changing may be
one of the most important characteristics of successful people. In
my years as a Business Coach, I have observed many successful
CEOs and entrepreneurs. With very few exceptions, those who are
successful and happy have developed and maintained a positive
outlook about change and continuous improvement.

This positive attitude is not accidental. Successful business
people know how to create a positive attitude and positive
motivation for themselves. They don't just wait for it to happen.
They purposely create positive change.

All change implies learning and vice versa. They are inseparable,
one impossible without the other. If you learn, you change.

Effective learning must be conscious vs. unconscious, active vs.
reactive. It must be something you seek, not just Òlet it happenÓ.
If learning is not conscious, it canÕt be improved. It just becomes
Òanother taskÓ without effective application to the circumstances
in your business (and personal) life.

Learning in todayÕs fast-paced and ever-changing environment
canÕt be left to chance. Make a conscious effort to capture your
experiences and learn from them or be doomed to repeat your
mistakes. Worse yet, you may habitually keep doing those things
that are working for you, while your competition is actively seeking
new ideas, innovation and growth.

The competitive advantage of the future is your adaptability to
learning and change.

"There are risks and costs to a program of action, but they are far
less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction."
- John F Kennedy

How do you learn new tricks and <-- e x p a n d --> your personal
comfort zone?

Before you just throw all caution to the wind, try simple things.
** Drive home a different route.
** Shop at a different grocery store.
** Order something from the menu you've never tried before.
** Sleep on the other side of the bed.

Make a conscious effort to experiment.

Let yourself feel the adrenaline level rise a bit. Allow your anxiety
level to increase. Feel your heart rate and breathing going faster.

The adrenaline is your body's natural drug that, in moderation,
makes you sharp, creative, and quick. It creates the feeling of
excitement and exhilaration that comes from trying something
new. Recognize that it also can be scary and stressful. Some
stress is useful. Too much can be harmful. Some stress provides
energy. Too much stress causes distress and can lead to burnout
if done to extreme.

Why would you want to give yourself the stress of stepping
outside your comfort zone?

Because that's where growth takes place.

Just like a muscle gets stronger when you exercise it outside its
normal range of use, you get stronger when you get out of your
rut. And just like your muscles, once you stretch beyond your
current capabilities, you don't ever go back to your original dimensions.

As you try new things, you gain confidence. Confidence makes you
feel powerful and good. And when you are confident that you can
survive new ideas, you allow yourself to try even more new things.

What's the limit?

Obviously, you need to be realistic in your risk management. Most
successful people think through the possible outcomes of taking
a risk. Then they prepare for how they would deal with each
potential outcome. Successful people take risks, but they are not
foolhardy or stupid.

What are some higher level activities that could add to your
personal and professional growth?

Here's my challenge to you.

Make a list of 50 things that, if you really were successful in
doing them, you would be a better person or a better company.
Consider a few new tricks such as:
Give a speech
Write and publish an article
Start an exercise program
Meditate daily
Teach a class
Feed a homeless person
Climb a mountain
Learn to play a new musical instrument
Sign up for a dance class
Try for that promotion

Then choose one or two that you are willing to do within the next
90 days. Schedule those new activities, then go for it. Afterward,
choose one or two more and do it again.

Make personal and professional growth a lifelong habit. You will
not become an old dog as long as you keep learning new tricks.

© Copyright 2000 BizSuccess All rights reserved. No duplication

About the Author...
==== ++ ==== ==== ++ ======== ++ ======== ++ ======== ++ ====
Gary Lockwood is Increasing the Effectiveness and Enhancing the
Lives of CEOs, business owners and professionals.
Get the CEO Success Report at
Get the Free BizSuccess newsletter -
or send any blank email to
Email: Web:
==== ++ ==== ==== ++ ======== ++ ======== ++ ======== ++ ====



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  June 9, 2001