Who is snooping on my email?



by Richard M. Smith
http://www.ComputerBytesMan.com
Dec. 23, 2005

With all of the controversy about the news that the NSA has been monitoring, since 9/11, telephone calls and email messages of Americans, some folks might now be wondering if they are being snooped on. Here's a quick and easy method to see if one's email messages are being read by someone else.

The steps are:

  1. Set up a Hotmail account.
  2. Set up a second email account with a non-U.S. provider. (eg. Rediffmail.com)
  3. Send messages between the two accounts which might be interesting to the NSA.
  4. In each message, include a unique URL to a Web server that you have access to its server logs. This URL should only be known by you and not linked to from any other Web page. The text of the message should encourage an NSA monitor to visit the URL.
  5. If the server log file ever shows this URL being accessed, then you know that you are being snooped on. The IP address of the access can also provide clues about who is doing the snooping.
The trick is to make the link enticing enough for someone or something to want to click on it. As part of a large-scale research project, I would suggest sending out a few hundred thousand messages using various tricks to find one that might work. Here are some possible ideas: Besides monitoring the NSA, this same technique can be used if you suspect your email account password has been stolen or if a family member or coworker is reading your email on your computer on the sly.