HTML Email "Web Bugs" Sniff Out Your Identity :
The use of HTML in email messages allows for flexible, pretty and useful formatting. You can even include pictures inline in your message easily.
So, when you open an HTML email with a remote image in it and your email client loads the picture from the server, the sender of the message can find out a number of things about you:
1. This could be exploited by spammers, although they rarely care about whether their messages arrive or not.
2. You have opened the message. If the sender can confront you with such evidence, it will be difficult to claim you never got or read an important message.
3. Your current IP address. Your IP address can reveal your physical location, and it is a valuable asset to know for malicious attacks.
How To Prevent Email Privacy Infringement :
Remote images are a subtle form of privacy infringement and thus not easy to avoid, but there are ways to protect your email privacy.
1. Go Offline : The most radical approach is also the most reliable. If you are offline while your read your email, your email client might try to fetch the revealing images, but without success. And if no images are requested from the server, there is no log of you reading the message.
2. Use a Non-HTML-Capable Email Client : Just as radical and probably carrying even more inconvenience is it to say good-bye to your HTML-enabled email client.
If your email client can only display text, it won't even get the idea of requesting an image from some remote server.
3. Configure Your Email Client for Privacy : Even if you do not want to go offline every time your read mail and do not want to switch to Pine, there are some things you can do and settings you can tweak to configure your email client of choice for maximum privacy.
To Prevent Your Privacy Against Web-Bugs and Remote Images in Hotmail :
Select Options from the top Hotmail navigation bar.
Go to the Mail category.
Click on Mail Display Settings.
Make sure Remove images until messages are reviewed is selected under Display Internet Images.
To Prevent Your Privacy Against Web-Bugs and Remote Images in YahooMail :
Follow the Mail Options link in the Yahoo! Mail toolbar.
Select General Preferences.
Under Messages, make sure Block HTML graphics in email messages from being downloaded is selected.
Use the Save button to save your settings.
To Prevent Privacy Infringement Through Remote Images in AIM Mail :
Follow the Settings link in AIM Mail.
Go to General.
Make sure Hide images in mail from unknown senders is checked under Reading.