Email attachments have been integral to the distribution of information on the internet for almost as long as the internet has been available to the public. This form of communication has been the go-to medium for everything from advertisements, and job offers to love letters and family photos. As a society, we lean on the utility of email to transmit some of the most sensitive and sentimental data, but should we? We will examine our relationship with email, its shortcomings, and how we can improve upon a system we have relied on for so long.
A Brief History of Email
The development of the early internet only resembles the current state of the internet in that it is a network of systems communicating with one another. The early internet, a network of computers called ARPANET, eventually needed a method of organized communication between people rather than simply sending and processing data for scientists. One of the first messages we would recognize as an email was sent in 1971. Eventually, in the 80s, a standardized protocol for sending short messages back and forth was developed, the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). After another decade, we begin seeing the first email attachments. Email attachments, as a method of transferring files, have remained largely unchanged
1992 was the year the first email attachment was sent. Thanks to Nathaniel Borenstein and his humble desire to connect families to one another over the internet, we saw one of the biggest and most impactful changes to email as a protocol. To ring in the change, Nathaniel and his colleague, Ned Freed, sent a photograph of a quartet named the Telephone Chords. Together, the two wrote an internet extension called Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME). To this day, this protocol undergirds nearly every email attachment sent.
Security and Email
Email has become a widely beloved and accessible medium. By 2025, more than half the world’s population is projected to have a personal email address. Let’s not scoff at that. However, the utility of transferring sensitive information via email is greatly hamstrung by its history. Because email as a form of communication has been built upon for decades, there are so many functions that cannot be updated for these billions of users.
This presents security risks of which we should all be cognizant. It is easy to believe that emails are secure at all times, but that belief is far from reality. Our emails simply do not have the same encryption and storage standards that a file-sharing service is capable.
If we consider briefly the information we send in email attachments, it is easy to understand the importance of adequate security when transferring files. We send our personally-identifying information to real estate agents when purchasing homes. We send copies of ‘driver’s licenses when accepting job offers, we even send voided checks, and personal photographs. All of our data is left vulnerable when we depend on email alone to share our data.
Solving the Security Problem
There are a few massive issues when it comes to emails and security. First, who gets to access your data? When an email arrives at the wrong location, all it takes is one click to lose all of your most personal information. A missed keystroke is all that stands between us and complete financial ruin. Most services have no sort of recourse for a misdirected email. Second, email attachment limits have not been able to keep up with the average file size. When MIME was developed, rarely would there be a need to transfer more than a few megabytes of data, but now, workplaces and personal projects would easily crush the demands of the most advanced computers in the 90s. Third, and most importantly, where do your files go once they have been attached to an email? Your data is immediately at the mercy of an email server and the whims of your recipient.
The bottom line? Relying on email to protect your files once ‘you’ve hit send is a dangerous game. It requires a degree of trust that, frankly, is unsustainable. Luckily, there are newer and more secure, file-sharing methods. Let’s leave wrestling with email attachments and praying that there is security on the other side in the past. Your information is precious and potentially ruinous if it falls into the wrong hands.
Today, however, there is a solution.
File-sharing services are built to store, share, and protect your data, putting you in charge of security, rather than leaving security in the hands of others. AXEL Go solves the biggest email attachment concerns entirely.
When sharing a file via a secure link, users are able to password-protect their parcels. Rather than leaving your fate in the hands of an email server, our password-protected secure shares give you the power to securely share files in teams and ensure your files end up where they were intended. You have the power to change your password, set an expiration date for the share, or revoke access entirely.
Password-protected link shares solve a second problem, the issue of server security. Your files, rather than remaining on an email server or perpetually in easily-accessible inboxes, reside in decentralized, encrypted, and password-protected cloud storage servers that you control. Any file of any size can be easily transferred to the proper channels without leaving anything up to chance.
Security-minded individuals need only to generate a secure link and send it to the intended party. There is no need to commit third parties to your security infrastructure to obtain the security you deserve with AXEL Go. This means that committing to a secure digital lifestyle is as simple as “copy, paste, done.”
Try AXEL Go Today
The future of file-sharing is here. Easily secure your most private information with AXEL Go. Never leave your data up to chance, and secure your shares with custom passwords, expiring links, and professional-grade security today.
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