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Email privacy in a shared hosting environment

Posted on 2013-01-17
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Last Modified: 2013-01-17
Can someone tell me how private is my email when I am using a shared hosting service?  Specifically, I am using a service provided by Site5.com - they use a typical Linux / Apache / Cpanel front end for account management.

My main question is whether confidential emails sent or received by one of the users can be viewed by the account administrator without the user's knowledge.  Yes, I realize that an account administrator could change my password and then gain access to my account that way.  My question is more regarding whether the administrator can read my emails without doing that.  The admin usually has access to a file manager which contains different files for each email account.  My guess is that these files probably contain contents of all my emails, and the account admin can probably read my emails without my knowledge by opening those files.  Is that correct?

Is it possible to send emails in this sort of hosting environment without the account admin being able to read my email?

Thanks.
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Question by:jbaird123
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Dave Howe earned 2000 total points
ID: 38787446
1) usually, the mails are stored in plain text in the user's home directory (or /var/spool/mail for older implementations) so can be browsed by anyone with access to those (i.e. "root") - no special tools needed.
2) if the hosting environment supports s/mime *and* everyone you correspond with can get set up for that, you could start using that. many webmail solutions don't (but of course if its imap+smtp, then you can install the local client of your choice and use that)
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Author Closing Comment

by:jbaird123
ID: 38788817
Thanks.  This is what I needed to know.
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