Electronic mail is considered the Internets number one tool, counting by Radicati Group in August 2008 estimate the number of emails sent per day to be around 183 billion messages which means more than 2 million emails are sent every second, however, about 70% to 72% of them might be spam and viruses. The genuine emails are sent by around 1.3 billion email users. (Tschabitscher). More people use the Internet for communicating via "e-mail" than for viewing web pages on the World Wide Web. While electronic mail messages have been limited to text for several decades, e-mail messages are becoming more like web pages themselves. And while HTML-capable e-mail has been in use for a few years now, its use has been fairly limited but is slowly increasing as more people obtain and use HTML-enabled e-mail software.
How it works. The first e-mail message was sent in 1971 by an engineer named Ray Tomlinson. Before this, you could only send messages to users on a single machine. Tomlinson's breakthrough allowed users to send messages to other machines on the Internet, using the @ sign to figure out the receiving machine. To look at them, you use some sort of e-mail client. Most people use well-known, stand-alone clients like Microsoft Outlook, where as others subscribe to e-mail services like Hotmail or Yahoo who use an e-mail client that appears in a Web page. For the vast majority of people right now, the real e-mail system consists of two different servers running on a server machine. One is called the SMTP server, SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. The SMTP server handles outgoing mail. The other is either a POP3 server or an IMAP server, both of which handle incoming mail. POP stands for Post Office Protocol, and IMAP stands for Internet Mail Access Protocol (Vleck).
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SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol). The objective of the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol is to transfer mail reliably and efficiently. SMTP transfers mail to another process on the same network or to some other network via a relay or gateway process accessible to both networks. In this way, a mail message may pass through a number of intermediate relay or gateway hosts on its path from sender to ultimate recipient (Klensin). SMTP defines the structure of addresses, domain name requirements and anything related to your email. If you mistype an email address, it doesn't go anywhere because the receiving end doesn't know what to do with it, much like when the U.S. postal service returns an envelope to you that doesn't have the proper ZIP code. SMTP also determines how attachments are handled, how mailing lists work, sets limits on retrying to send to an address and anything else related to the email.
POP3 & IMAP servers. Your e-mail client connects to the POP3 server and issues a series of commands to bring copies of your e-mail messages to your local machine. It will usually delete the messages from the server, unless otherwise specified. The POP3 server simply acts as an interface between the e-mail client and the text file containing your messages. It allows you to have a collection of messages stored in a text file on the server. Your e-mail client can connect to your POP3 e-mail server and download the messages from the POP3 text file onto your PC( Klensin). That is about all that you can do with POP3. The using of IMAP to access your mailbox has advantages over POP3. When using IMAP messages are stored on the server and are not affected if your computer fails. It is also very easy to use multiple computers or e-mail programs to read mail. When choosing what type of server you will use you must never accidentally use both POP3 and IMAP, doing so will cause numerous problems including loss of messages.
Common uses in today's world. E-mail is a convenient way to communicate with a person or persons who are difficult to contact in person or on the telephone. Due to Email's fast and efficient method of communication it is now the preferred method of online communication. The many uses of email are what make it so appealing and so versatile. Whether you are sending a family member photos or sending a coworker an invite for lunch, you can easily use email to do so. Email has come a very long way since it was invented, yet it is still used for many of the same reasons. Email has become a more resourceful tool so has the ability, allowing users to do much more then it could do before. The evolution of email has also brought many questions regarding conduct and use.
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In Society. Social interaction in the local community was the basis for communication - face to face, but today face-to-face meetings are no longer the primary way to communicate. A large majority of people in today's world use some sort of email every day. With the power of Email increasing users can now customize their email messages to contain HTML tags, file attachments, ActiveX controllers including shockwave flash objects, photos, tracking information, and signatures. In today's society, weather you are sending an e-Card to your family or just chatting with a friend email is the leading online communication tool. Emailing is not regulated in the same way telephones are because there is no long distance; you can email a friend in India from your office in California and hear back from them within seconds.
In Business. E-mail was widely accepted by the business community as the first broad electronic communication medium allowing communication throughout anywhere in the world. Electronic mail is easy to use, free of charge, fast, and delivers information in a digital format allowing business owners to have a paper trail through basic communication (Public). Businesses also use Email because it requires less physical effort than sending a letter, which means there is no need to buy stamps or envelopes or for a trip to the postbox. Another great thing about using email within a business is the fact that it is easy to send the same piece of information to several people simultaneously. However, most business workers today spend from one to two hours of their working day on e-mail for reading, ordering, sorting, 're-contextualizing' fragmented information, and writing e-mail. This makes many business owners weary of the use email.
Uses of Email. Today, email is used everywhere and by almost everyone with access to a computer. This wonderful tool is not without its downside however. Some people choose to send worms and viruses via email and in the process infect and damage quite a lot of computers. A virus email can often be very difficult to detect, especially to someone with very little knowledge of computer viruses and how they work. If you notice that you have an anonymous email or an email with a name foreign to you then you may not want to open this email as may likely be a viruses and the mere act of opening the email makes your computer susceptible to infection.
Spam & Malware. Spam is becoming a larger and larger problem with online electronic mail. Spam is slang that refers to unsolicited commercial email. There are several types of SPAM messages including, phishing scams, foreign bank scams, pyramid schemes, and ads for illegally pirated software. Spammers use automatic programs called bots to scour the web collecting addresses. They also guess at addresses using name generation programs, and even send thousands of messages that bounce. They do all this just to find a single active email account or response. Within these Spam emails there is a high likelihood that they contain malware of some sort. Malware includes computer viruses, worms, trojans, most rootkits, spyware, dishonest adware, crimeware, and other malicious and unwanted software, including true viruses all of which can permanently damage your computer (Kim).
Spoofing & Bombing. Another problem many people are having with electronic mail is E-mail spoofing this occurs when the header information of an email is altered to make the message appear to come from a known or trusted source. It is often used as a way to collect personal information. Once a harmful source has your email address they can also begin attacking your specific inbox by bombing your email server. E-mail bombing is when a user intentionally sends a large volume of messages to a users address. Doing this can disable your email address and possibly cause the entire mail server to crash.
Privacy & Tracking. Email privacy is another concern with electronic mail. Users can have their privacy invaded if the proper precautions are not taken. This is mainly due to the fact that the majority of emails are not encrypted. Emails travel through several intermediate computers before it reaches the final destination email address. This makes it relatively easy for harmful users to intercept and read messages. Tracking an email is fairly easy also it allows the sender to view weather the email has been received. This compromises your email address to spammers and can jeopardize your email security.
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In conclusion, electronic mail has come a surprisingly long way since its inception in 1971. Email has solved several communication barriers and is being used by a vast number of people. It has been accepted as a primary means of communication throughout the world. It has connected families, businesses, and social societies alike. There are several barriers that electronic mail still needs to pass to make email more secure and less harmful to unexpected users. We can expect to see continuing integration of e-mail with other technologies. New security hazards will present themselves, as will new security solutions as is the evolution of technology.