How to securely eliminate e-mails

Discussion in 'iMac' started by new1, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. new1 macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2014
    Hi all,

    Can someone help me learn how to securely eliminate e-mails in OSX 10.9.1 ?
    I don't mean moving them into trash can and then emptying the trash, I mean
    SECURELY so they can't be recuperated.

    Appreciate your help, thank you.
  2. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Don't use GMAIL or Facebook Mail or mail from any other service that has a know issue with deleting user data.

    Second, I suggest you encrypt your system disk using FileVault 2.

    And third, with the mail programs I know of there are no real options to secure delete the email. I'm using FileVault 2 to protect my data and that's probably all you need.
  3. new1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2014
    RE: how to securely eliminate e-mails

    Thank you Bear for your answer.
    Seems impossible that Mac's Imail app does not have a command to delete
    mail securely as you do with trash can using finder.

    I'll try your suggestion.
    Thanks again.
  4. Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2012
    A simple solution might be to use Finder to locate the actual email and then use a 3rd party file shredder to securely erase it. Such as Permanent Eraser:

    Then go into Mail and delete it from there. (Only the header entry will be visible in Mail. since you have already deleted it.)

    Much more interesting, is what did your email say ;-)
  5. new1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2014
    Thanks Chippy99,

    guess I have to spend $ 25.00 for something that would take an apple programmer few minutes to incorporate into Mail App.

    (Sometimes the header tells more than the content :) )
  6. scaredpoet, Feb 7, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014

    scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    While I don't have any special insight here into the minds of Apple programmers, my educated guess is they don't consider this a priority because the local copy is the least of your worries. "Deleting" an e-mail from your computer securely is an academic exercise at best. Especially if you're using IMAP or a modern e-mail protocol.

    Most people/entities with the resources and desire to do a forensic analysis of a hard drive to retrieve deleted emails would probably go the easier route, and just get the archived copy from your e-mail provider. That copy would likely be more complete anyway, and would most certainly survive a secure deletion on your Mac. Even better: they don't even need to do have access to your Mac to do it.

    In any case, the free option to what you desire is very simple: enable FileVault 2, thus making secure delete a moot point by and large. That's something you should be doing anyway if you're that concerned about data security.
  7. analog guy macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    maybe he just wants to hide from his wife the emails from the mistress. ;-)
  8. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    If she's hacking into his Mac with a data recovery program, then he has more serious issues. :)
  9. xraydoc macrumors 604


    Oct 9, 2005
    As someone else noted above, I would opt for turning on File Vault. That will effectively prevent any casual user from recovering off the Mac an email that was deleted. It'll thwart most consumer file-recovery apps. It won't likely prevent law enforcement or military-grade forensics, but it will stop a snooping co-worker (or spouse).

    The bigger issue, as someone already posted, is that it may be easier to go to the mail service provider and "undelete" the email directly from their servers. There may be no good way of preventing this depending on the email service you use, regardless of how good the encryption or secure erase is on your Mac.

    I suspect, if you're this worried, you have bigger problems than a lazy Apple programmer.
  10. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Go into your ~/Library/Mail folder and you'll see the email stuff. Use secure empty trash and you can wipe that stuff out, at least locally. Although the NSA can still get it.
  11. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    The OP would get better answers if he/she explained the reason behind the question. Like others have said, deleting emails from your computer doesn't necessarily get rid of them at your provider.
  12. cats4jan macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2013
    Isn't there two sources to those emails? If they're ones you receive, the other guy has a copy. If they're ones you send, the other guy has a copy.

    Don't quite know why you think anything in email is secure no matter what actions you take.

    I wish there was a way to stop some emails from getting to me, but I'm assuming, even if I have filters, etc., they are getting here. Scary thought.
  13. xraydoc macrumors 604


    Oct 9, 2005
  14. antman2x2 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2011
    New YAWK

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