Owning your Online Privacy. TmpMail
Understanding the Power of Temporary Email
It’s safe to say that in today’s online world our threat level has changed. In the new digital age where web trackers are pervasive, social media linking is conducted and automated spam and scam emails are sent out en mass, it’s often hard to understand where you can make tangible improvements in regards to privacy and how to do so. In this article, we’ll be discussing the use and implementation of temporary email solutions you can use to protect your primary email address. We’ll also talk about circumstances where this isn‘t’ suitable, and where using a legitimate email may be the best option for security purposes. And as always, we’ll give you web based and terminal based instances to chose from
It’s pretty easy to understand that from signing up for online services to participating in forums or online shopping, your email address is often a gateway to your digital identity. However, this leaves you vulnerable to spam, phishing attempts, and potential data breaches. That’s where temporary email addresses come into play, providing an effective solution to maintain your security and preserve your online privacy.
What Are Temporary Email Addresses?
Self explanatory by name, temporary email addresses, or throwaway email addresses are short-lived email accounts that allow you to receive emails without revealing your permanent or primary email address. These addresses are designed to be used for a limited time or a specific purpose, and they automatically expire after a predetermined period.
Why Would We Use Temporary Email Addresses?
Shielding Your Primary Email Address
Your primary email address, the one you use for personal and professional communication, is like a key to your digital kingdom. By utilizing a temporary email address for online registrations, newsletters, and other non-critical interactions, you can shield your primary email from potential risks. By doing so, you reduce the chances of your inbox getting cluttered with spam, phishing attempts, and unsolicited promotional emails and reduce the need to enable and disable alias addresses within your primary account.
Preventing Unwanted Communication
We’ve all experienced the annoyance of an overflowing inbox. Whether it’s unwanted newsletters or promotional emails that flood your inbox, temporary email addresses can act as a filter, keeping unwanted communication at bay. Once you no longer need to receive messages from a specific sender or service, simply let the temporary email address expire, and the clutter will disappear.
Avoiding Data Breaches
The threat of data breaches looms large in the digital realm. Cybercriminals are constantly on the lookout for valuable personal information, such as email addresses, which they can exploit for malicious purposes. By utilizing temporary email addresses, you create an additional layer of protection against potential breaches. Even if a temporary email address is compromised, the damage is limited to that specific account and does not extend to your primary email or personal data.
Staying Anonymous Online
Maintaining your anonymity can be vital in certain situations. When participating in forums, signing up for online services, or engaging in any activity where privacy is a concern, temporary email addresses allow you to maintain a level of anonymity. By using a throwaway address, you can safeguard your personal information and prevent it from being tied directly to your identity.
Testing Online Services
Before committing to a new online service or website, it’s common to explore its features and functionality. Temporary email addresses come in handy for such situations, enabling you to sign up and test the service without revealing personal information. If you find the service satisfactory, you can then use your primary email address to create a permanent account.
Why Not An Alias??
Whilst alias addresses have their utility, we believe a temp address to be a better option for a number of reasons. Firstly, an alias whilst being reasonably straight forward to setup is still slower to enable than a temp mail, particularly web based options. Using an alias also still gives a vector for bad actors to conduct targeted attacks, as even without your primary email correspondence can still be sent directly to your inbox. Lastly an alias still provides a usable avenue for beginning an OSINT search, particularly if it has been reused and isn’t deactivated. Using a disposable address adds another layer of protection to your security planning, although it’s smart policy to develop good cyber hygiene all round rather than relying a single item of protection.
Im Ready, Lets do This!
As always we’ll start with the web based option first. For today’s example, we’ll use ten minute mail to create a temporary email address and register for a Reddit account, fast and easily. Lets check out our web interface first. We can find it by heading to tenminutemail.com or simply by clicking here
Free, Web Based, 10 Minute Mail
When we open the website, we see a simple and user friendly interface, allowing us to see our temporary address, copy it to the clip board and paste it in to our website of choice. We also see that we can reserve the address for up to 10 minute blocks initially before it automatically deactivates.
Clean, Simple and Effective.
We can see now that upon delivery, the web interface acts as simple click and point interface. While to “To” address sure is a mouthful, we can see that by using our interface we now have our totallynotaburner reddit account active. Now, lets look at how we’ll do this in terminal.
Command Line Fun
To setup via command line takes a little extra work, but is reasonably easy to configure. We’ll clone the tmpmail repository and then use alias commands to generate and clear addresses. We’ll also have to register for 1secmail so we can obtain an API key to pair with our terminal commands. You’ll find the instructions you’ll need to install and configure within this github account. We’ve also included a screen cap of useful commands for you below.
The mostly simple tmpmail commands can be aliased via bashrc, allowing you to configure , check and remove address configurations with a single word via the terminal.
Lets go through setting up our Reddit account again using our new command line configurations to speed things up. Whilst you can select commands that suit your workflow, we’ve simply streamlined the commands to create, check your address and remove your addresses at will. We’ve included a Screen cap of our alias commands for you to check your configuration should you need.
Shortened commands for fast running.
Whilst the terminal takes a little extra work, the most difficult component revolves around setting up the one second mail interface. However contextually, this isn’t a difficult venture. Lets look at our Reddit registration and see how it looks via the command line.
Say hello to Magnificent-Can4884: A simple clean text interface with hotlinks and no bloat.
We can see that the interface remains simple, however the information we need to activate our account is easily accessible. Delivery time is similar to the web interface. However there is one advantage to using tmpmail, and that is configurable addresses. If you’ve a careful eye, when looking through the Github repository you may have noticed a command referencing “custom address”.
Tmpmail includes the ability to customize an address. This loses some randomness but ups the convenience factor.
Yes, that’s right! You can also configure a tmpmail burner that’s a bit more palatable than an alphabet soup for an address. You’ll need to provide a bit more configuration within the menu to do so, but the tmpmail CLI includes a good help interface, providing you with the ability to troubleshoot your install should you need it.
Before We Go
So after today’s article, you now understand why we’d want to configure a temporary address and how to do so using either a web interface or command line interface. However up to this point we’ve mostly touch on the pro’s of why we might do so. Given we are good students from the school of privacy, it’s important to touch on what situations aren’t appropriate for tmpmail addresses and why this is so. Let’s ask ChatGPT a question and get some outside information.
Input: What situations are not suited to a temp email address and why is this so?
Output: While temporary email addresses can be incredibly useful in many scenarios, there are a few situations where they may not be the most suitable option. Here are a few examples:
1. Critical Account Registrations: When signing up for important online services that involve financial transactions, personal data storage, or legal agreements, using a temporary email address may not be ideal. In such cases, it’s preferable to use a permanent email address that you have full control over and can easily access for important account-related communications and password resets.
2. Long-Term Communication: If you anticipate the need for ongoing communication with a specific individual or organization, it’s better to use a permanent email address. Temporary email addresses are designed for short-term use, and they typically expire after a certain period or when they reach a specific message limit. Trying to maintain a long-term relationship or exchange important information through a temporary address may lead to disruptions or missed communications.
3. Personal or Professional Branding: If you’re building a personal brand, establishing an online presence, or using email for professional communication, it’s generally more appropriate to use a permanent email address. Using a consistent and recognizable email address helps establish credibility, trust, and brand recognition. Temporary email addresses, by their nature, lack the stability and continuity needed for effective personal or professional branding.
4. High-Level Account Security: While temporary email addresses offer additional security, they are not foolproof. If you require the highest level of security and privacy for your online accounts, it’s essential to utilize strong, unique, and well-protected permanent email addresses. Temporary addresses can be susceptible to breaches, especially if they are linked to less secure or easily guessable passwords. For maximum security, consider using strong, unique passwords, two-factor authentication, and other security measures for your permanent email accounts.
5. Legal and Compliance Requirements: In some cases, certain legal or compliance regulations may require the use of a permanent email address for record-keeping purposes. Temporary email addresses are not suitable when legal or compliance obligations mandate a more structured and traceable communication method.
Remember, while temporary email addresses are beneficial for maintaining privacy and security in many instances, it’s important to assess the specific requirements of each situation and use the appropriate type of email address accordingly. Balance the need for privacy and security with the practicality and long-term viability of the communication you intend to engage in.
We’d call that a reasonably thorough explanation as to situations where the use of temp addresses is unsuited to long term privacy. We’d also like to add in closing that it’s our belief that managing your privacy is best considered with a flexible attitude to your specific needs. This allows you to concentrate on the things that matter to you and your situation, rather than taking a one size fits all approach. With this said, we’re currently aiming to produce at least one article a month that touchs on communicating securely and reducing your osint footprint. So if you enjoyed this article, please subscribe for updates via our medium feed, and feel free to share our content on your own platforms. Alternately you can get the latest news from all our platforms via our telegram feed. If you’d like to follow our channel, you can find it here