A recent article in the Atlantic Magazine titled "Why an Email Hack Feels So Personal" struck a familiar chord with us at Total Digital Security. "It's like losing a piece of your digital self." says the author, Abigail Deutsch. Exactly. Many of our customers have come to us after an email hack and the emotional response is consistent across the board - victims share a sense of violation, loss, and deep vulnerability. If you are still using "free" email services like Gmail, AOL, or Yahoo, among others, now is the time to take control of what for many of us is our primary mode of communication today.
For many, especially in the U.S., we've been seduced into believing there is a "free lunch" with regard to many of our internet services. Intuitively and intellectually, we know better but the fact remains - we are more than willing to give up our privacy and personal information to enjoy the "free" propositions offered online.
As consumers, this is a losing trade and our gullibility has minted some of history's largest fortunes over very short periods of time. We wrote about this previously in "How to Become a Billionaire by the Age of 25".
The Trade that Hacked Our Democracy:
"Free" email accounts are getting hacked en masse every day, and it is going to get much worse. The profit motive is enormous, and it is easy to inflict without much chance of getting caught or suffering consequences as a perpetrator. As the Apple Genius told Ms. Deutsch in her The Atlantic article, it's "Super common."
"If computers are like bodies, email is like the soul."
Abigail Deutsch in her article on experiencing a hacked Gmail account, The Atlantic Magazine Feb. 6, 2016.
Why is "Free" Email so Unsafe?
Gmail, AOL, Yahoo, and other "free" email services are like honeypots for hackers and cyber thieves. It's where the action is if you are in the business of stealing and reselling personal information. There is a highly liquid market for email addresses, social security and tax ID numbers, much less bank account information, healthcare records, and financial documents. All of this information is highly sought after for ID theft, financial fraud, extortion, and such - and our email traffic is a primary place to find it.
The "free" providers have the contractual right to monitor, scan, and store all of the information included in your email traffic - and they do, every day. There are no limits on how long they keep it for and few limits on what they use it for.
As "free" providers, their business model focuses on reselling your information to marketers and data brokers. Unfortunately, the process also increases the risk of your information falling in to the hands of more unscrupulous parties for purposes far less benign.
Cyber criminals have become extremely sophisticated in their use of advanced technology. They use powerful software to monitor, collect, analyze, and assemble data to engineer attacks that use many elements of your personal information to increase the effectiveness of their hack. In cases, they will spend over a year using the software to monitor your email and collect even the most mundane of details. The software automates the process and is easily scaled to work over high volumes of targets. The profit potential behind a single, successful attack is easily higher than an entire career in traditional crime.
The cooling system for one of Google's massive server facilities.
But, you too can leverage advanced technology for the sake of an effective defense, and the first thing to do is to come off the grid of "free" email by "privatizing" your services.
Trusted Advisors and Professional Practices
Before too long, it will be unacceptable to act as a trusted professional advisor with a "free" email account. It will be recognized as not caring about the privacy and security of clients and professional relationships - much less the notion of client privelege and confidentiality. Anyone that understands the risks at hand will view the professional as reckless with their reputation, professional stature, and the safety and security of their clientelle.
Acting as a professional trusted advisor - say, as a financial or legal advisor, real estate agent or broker, insurance or healthcare professional - of course requires a heightened level of awareness and respect for confidential communications. Considering the relentless barrage of attacks on personal information today, any practice, personal or professional, that includes the proficient handling of sensitive information and documents must add elements of security that clearly transcend the "free" system of open abuse.
As a trusted advisor operating in the age of digital technology waiting until there is a problem can be a career-killer and seriously affect your realtionships with clients, network professionals, and key contacts that are the foundation of a successful professional practice.
Total Digital Security can help you get started by privatizing your email service with your own, highly secure domain hosted on fortified servers with both domestic, and offshore Swiss options. You own and control your email - no hardware required, and webmail and mobile sync are built-in. Secure Exchange hosting also available.
Individuals and Families
Creating a private email domain for your family and loved ones is a gift that can last for many generations to come. It is a digital family domain and a cyber-safe room that family members can always return to, in spite of the hostilities online.
As a family, we share some of life's most sensitive and intimate information by way of email. Schedules and itineraries, legal and financial documents, details and records about our healthcare - and much more. With a private email domain, you regain control of the information and seriously reduce the risks associated with "free" services.
A family email domain will nurture good, cyber-self-defense practices and higher levels of awareness essential for success today, much less in the future.
Some family members may chose to continue using their Gmail, or other "free" account. That's OK. But when banking, communicating with professional advisors, and actually anything you would not put in a mailbox without en envelope should be transmitted over the family's private email system. It will nurture good habits and higher levels of awareness that aresimply essential for success in the environment of today, and certainly that of the future.
Whether you are a professional trusted advisor, an individual, a head of household, a CEO, or anyone that leads and active, engaged, and productive life, you want to enjoy and leverage the riches of technology for all you can.
The Internet puts all of the world's information and knowledge at our finger tips, fear and risk shouldn't stand in the way.
How We Can Help
At Total Digital Security we don't invent anything. We don't have to. Enormously capable technologies are being developed today by the smartest, most innovative, and well financed minds available to address cybersecurity - it is a mandate due to the massive shift in risk on every level of society that is taking place today. These technologies are built and marketed toward large institutions and enterprises that operate on a "mission critical" basis, 24/7.
While Total Digital Security does not "invent", we do "innovate". We relentlessly seek out and test these advanced technologies for ourselves, and we innovate ways to make the best of them accessible and easy to use for our market segments - individuals, professionals, small groups, families, and small businesses. Our systems empower you with the ability to operate online in a private, secure, and safe manner with all of your technology, regardless of time and place, and whether working personally or professionally.
Private Email Services
For private email domains, we use enterprise-grade systems that that include the strongest threat detection structure in the industry. Our platforms use the best available threat scanning capabilities with industry leaders in spam and virus protection. Before a message enters your mailbox, it undergoes a series of multi-level tests before entering your private system.
In most cases, we use a domestic U.S. enterprise provider but also offer an offshore, Swiss-based option that provides exceptional levels of email privacy, including the advantages of Swiss law.
What Makes It So Secure?
Off the Grid - Away from the "honeypots" cyber criminals use to steal information, and off the insecure grid of "free" services.
Private Infrastructure - Located in a protected facility built for email and focused on privacy - not information mining.
Four Levels of Incoming Protection - Before an incoming email enters your system it is tested four times:
1) The Gatekeeper Scan. Gatekeeper scans to evaluate a message’s compliance with rigorous, internationally recognized technical standards. Messages are also checked against aggregated blacklists of known spam offenders.
2) Message Sniffer. Utilizing user feedback and enhanced pattern matching, Message Sniffer annihilates over 98% of spam in real time.
3) Cloudmark Advanced Fingerprinting. Combining advanced message fingerprinting and the Global Threat Network, Cloudmark’s comprehensive system not only stops spam and phishing attempts; it also accurately identifies and annihilates viruses.
4) Clam AV. Incorporating a three-layer virus scan on all incoming messages, Clam AV targets deceptive measures senders use to mask viruses, compares the message against known virus definitions, and evaluates attachments for possible viruses.
Digital Autonomy - Control of your email's domain host - you can decide without proprietary lockups or limitations - an increasingly important and valuable element of individual autonomy in the Information Age.
How Much Does It Cost?
Getting the best, most secure system available for private email services is surprisingly affordable. All of our services are affordable and within reach of most anyone that owns and uses personal technology.
After some very modest setup expenses and fees, mailboxes are less than $50 a year, including 25gb of storage. The service includes a personal webmail URL for access from any browser on any computer anywhere, and is easily configured to work with Outlook, Thunderbird, Mac Mail, Androids, and others.
We have great technology at our fingertips that seriously protects us and reduces information risk to a significant degree. And, the technology will keep getting better and probably even more affordable in the future. This progress reflects the nature of technology and leveraging these advances as we enter a mega-cycle of crime is smart and timely.
You can start the process by submitting the pre-purchase form below for a no-obligation consultation and quote.
How We Do Private Email - Video