Practice Social Distancing in Your Online Life, Too

Practice Social Distancing in Your Online Life, Too

Precautions Yield Greater Online Security, Privacy and Email Inbox Control

Medical experts stress that social distancing is essential to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, activities that bring people into close physical proximity have been suspended, businesses and schools have been closed, and millions of people are now working and learning from home. Online connections have replaced in-person connections, with social distancing leading to distant socializing.

Sadly, despicable people are exploiting the current crisis, playing on public anxiety in hopes of luring people into clicking on fraudulent emails and web links. Phishing attacks and phone scams abound, promising reservations for a vaccine, selling medications hyped as a cure, or offering the latest virus news and medical advice, all in return for a credit card and social security number, or even just a click.

One way to confront these threats is to practice social distancing in our online lives, too, by implementing measures that create a protective barrier between ourselves and our online activities. One effective tactic is to use substitute email addresses to isolate one’s primary email account from “infection.”

Whether you’re activating free trials to keep the kids occupied, shopping online, or subscribing to legitimate medical bulletins, don’t disclose your personal email address, provide a ManyMe address instead.’s free service service makes it extremely easy to use substitute email addresses, which are called aliases; this approach keeps your personal email address private, rather than exposing it to the impersonal, commercial activities that characterize so much of online life. Aliases can be disclosed on the spur of the moment, whether online, in conversation or on paper, and used with any email system. Email sent to an alias is thoroughly-filtered by ManyMe, and then promptly forwarded to your primary inbox, so you have only one account to manage.

ManyMe aliases also strengthen email security. For example, a ManyMe address makes it easier to detect fraudulent senders—if a hacker poses as your doctor, but reaches out using an alias that you disclosed to someone else, the sender is easily recognized as an impostor. The consistent use of aliases also reduces the scope of your vulnerability to credential re-use attacks, because your credentials will always be different from site to site, and thus only provide access to a single site. ManyMe also hosts attachments, preventing files from reaching your local device without your explicit consent.

ManyMe addresses also provide unmatched control over your email inbox. Each alias can be controlled individually, and aliases have the added advantage of expendability. If an address starts to spread to unwanted senders, and ManyMe will tell you when this happens, you can easily cancel it—that’s the ultimate barrier, but an unthinkable option for anyone using only their primary email address.

So keep your distance online, too, and stay safe.