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One Step Ahead
February 26, 2008, Volume 54, No. 23

One Step Ahead

Another tip in a series provided by the Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy.

Quality Assure: Who is Getting Your E-Mail

Before sending an e-mail message, be sure to look beyond the body of the message. More and more privacy intrusions are occurring based on improperly addressed e-mail messages. The problem can often be exacerbated by e-mail programs that “recognize” the recipient after only a few letters of the name are typed and e-mail listservs that have similar names to one another. And, it is often too easy to hit the “Reply to All” button when you actually meant to reply only to the sender.

A recent example makes the point quite clearly. The news that highly confidential settlement talks were taking place between Eli Lilly Co. and the federal government was not “leaked” but rather unwittingly disclosed to a New York Times reporter whose name was similar to the name of an attorney working on the case. The New York Times reporter received an e-mail spelling out the details of the settlement from an attorney from a firm representing Eli Lilly—that message was intended for co-counsel at another law firm.

This problem and related ones can be avoided by taking an extra few seconds to “QA” or quality assure that your e-mail is being directed to the individual(s) you intend it for. A little extra caution can help avoid a lot of grief.

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To receive weekly OneStepAhead  tips via email, send email to listserv@lists.upenn.edu with the following text in the body of the message:  sub one-step-ahead <your name>.

For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website: www.upenn.edu/computing/security/.

Almanac - February 26, 2008, Volume 54, No. 23