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The Security and Maintenance of Messages in Outlook Express

With the excessive use of e-mail and e-commerce, the amount of confidential information being exchanged over the Internet has been growing at a rapid pace. As a result, the need to ensure the integrity, security, and privacy of e-mail messages is becoming an essential part of the corporate world. As the use of ActiveX controls, scripts and Java applets, and other special features in the messages is increasing day by day, there is an increased chance that such messages could access or modify files on the user's computer without his knowledge.

Outlook Express includes several tools that protect the unauthorized users from accessing the electronic data, thereby increasing the privacy and integrity of the e-mail messages. The tools provided by Outlook Express allow a user to send and receive secure e-mail more securely and control the potentially unsafe e-mail messages through security zones.

Outlook Express allows a user to read and send e-mail messages, sort and store messages on the local drive or e-mail server, create and edit contacts in the Address Book, and many more.

Some of the important features of Outlook Express are described below as follows:

Security Zones

Security zones are an effective way of securing the Internet. Security zones provide advanced protection for a user's computer and his privacy. The Security zones feature allows a user to control whether scripts and active content can be downloaded and run in messages received. It is a system that allows a user or a system administrator to divide the websites into different groups depending upon the Web content a browser can visit. This Web content may be an HTML file, a graphic file, an ActiveX control, a Java applet, or an executable file.

There are four security zones in Internet Explorer: Intranet, Local Intranet, Trusted Sites, and Restricted Sites. Each of the four zones has four default security levels: High, Medium, Medium-Low, and Low. These security levels determine the type of content that can be downloaded and run.

A user or an administrator can customize the settings for any of the security zones. Outlook Express enables a user or an administrator to choose which zone his incoming e-mail is in: either the Internet zone or the Restricted Sites zone.

Digital IDs

A Digital ID, also called a certificate, verifies the identity of a person who has sent the messages over the Internet. A Digital ID allows a user or administrator to sign his e-mail, so that the intended recipients can be assured that the message has actually come from the specified person and has not been manipulated in any way.

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