Dwight Watt - Watt Thoughts #412 9/11/2021

#412 - How do I hide email addresses in emails? (Watt Thoughts)

When you send of receive emails sometimes, they have a long list of email addresses on them. This can be a problem several ways.

First is the person reading the email sees all the addresses and depending on how their email provider shows the email it may mean scrolling overt them to find the message. That is a distraction, and you will lose some readers from reading your email and some may get more interested in seeing names on list and forget what they were doing.

Second is that this is a cybersecurity vulnerability. The email may well get forwarded to people you do not know and may have bad intentions when they see a list of addresses like this. They are threat actors, and there are lots of ways the email can end up in their hands, just realize it can and does happen.

Once the threat actor gets the list, they have a real valuable list to go phishing or spamming with or to sell to other threat actors for better money than just a list. The list you just sent shows a number of addresses that are related. Sending to them and identifying as them on name on email means more likely these people will fall for a phishing or spam email. In addition, it may be a list of names and email addresses within an organization and now using the same approach they have a way to use social engineering and get the keys to the kingdom (actual the passwords to the organization) which then allows them to hack the organization and steal stuff. To do that they can send an email to people on that list appearing to be from high ups or IT and get passwords if people are not alert.

My suggestion is when you are sending an email to about five or more people instead of listing them on TO or CCC lines, use the BCC line. In some cases, it is always there and some cases there is an option for BCC that will have line appear. Put everyone’s name and email in the BCC.

What does that cause? All that will appear as addresses on each email received is the address and name sent to and the name and email address of this one sender. Often you do have to put something in TO also and I always just list my name and email address.

There is one more bonus to doing this. If recipients hit Reply All instead of reply (a number of email systems default to reply all, which I dislike the default this way) the reply only goes to the sender, not everyone like if you had them all in TO or CCC.

This will help make a friendlier online world.



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