The boss of Sony Pictures film studio, Michael Lynton, whose entire email account was leaked online by a hacker group calling itself Guardians of Peace in a devastating cyber-attack nearly 18 months ago, has revealed he now writes sensitive messages by hand and sends them by fax machine.
This is because faxes are harder to hack than emails. Fax machines transmit data over phone lines rather than the internet, which means a hacker would have to tap telephone line to steal a fax as it was being transmitted.
The Sony Pictures cyber-attack, thought to be have sponsored by North Korea, leaked a raft of confidential data, including personal information about employees and their families and emails between colleagues.
At Benussi & Co, we have long cautioned against the use of email to send sensitive or confidential information. The fax machine might be seen as outmoded, but we still use ours and have always believed it to be more secure than email.
Emails are easy to hack, especially by people who know you intimately, as they are in the best position to guess your password. So if you’re going through a divorce and are communicating with your lawyer via email, who is the person most likely to be able to work out your password and hack your account? Your estranged spouse!
That is why we are reticent about using email, particularly when it comes to the exchange of delicate or contentious information. Instead, we prefer the use of fax or – even better – good old ‘snail mail’.
Another reason writing a fax or a letter is preferable to email is something we mentioned in a recent blog – that bashing out an email can take a matter of seconds, and as a result can sometimes be sent in haste (or after a couple of drinks, late at night). Having to write a fax message or a letter makes the communication more considered, so you’re less likely to regret it afterwards.
As Michael Lynton is quoted as saying: ‘My fax machine is in great use at the moment….sometimes, slowing things down for a minute – that’s not the worst thing in the world.’