Consider the mountains of emails you have deleted over the years. Maybe you have hit delete on emails containing online banking information, federal taxes, medical bills or shopping receipts. We’re willing to bet your email’s trash bin has accumulated a ton of highly sensitive data over the years.
That’s exactly the type of information hackers love to steal. It can make them a mountain of cash on illegal forums. Of course, you may think that you’re safe since you have deleted those emails.
Reality is more complex than that. When you use popular free inboxes like Gmail, Outbox and Yahoo, you can’t expect complete privacy. Even when you locally delete your emails, they may be sitting in a server somewhere.
That can put you at risk
If your most private emails are still accessible, that puts you at risk. If hackers can rifle through that information, you’re toast. That’s why we looked up Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo to try and find out if your deleted emails are well and truly gone.
Let’s start with Gmail
When you delete a message, it goes straight to your trash bin. You have 30 days to change your mind and recover them. After that, deleted emails disappear and can’t be recovered. At least, that’s what Google says.
But there’s a clever workaround for recovering these “permanently deleted” emails. It’s a trick that helps victims of hack attacks. Since these users didn’t delete their emails, they can try a special technique to recover long-lost messages.
Take this Google community post, for example. The user accidentally deleted important emails from their mother, who passed away, and left them in the trash bin for longer than 30 days. “This is normally not reversible,” the expert said. “But try this.”
Here’s how you can recover deleted emails from your Gmail account:
- Change your Google Account password
- Follow the steps in the Gmail security checklist
- Want to see if you can recover your messages? Fill out this form
“I used your link and they are all loading back now,” the first user said. “I have emails from my mom who passed away that I thought were gone forever.”
Of course, this trick doesn’t always work. A poster named Daniel followed the steps but couldn’t rescue his lost emails. But the mere fact that it’s possible to recover lost emails raises some questions:
- Where do permanently deleted emails go?
- If multiple users could restore deleted emails, were those messages stored away on some faraway server?
- If users can recover deleted emails, can hackers do it, too?
This question also applies to Outlook and Yahoo users
In Outlook, you can recover permanently deleted emails, which implies that the trash can isn’t as effective as you might think. Click here for the Kernel Data Recovery guide to restoring permanently deleted Outlook emails. You only have 30 days to recover, and after that, you’ll need a special tool or service to save those emails.
The same goes for Yahoo. Even if you emptied the Trash folder in your Yahoo inbox, you can send a restore request on the Yahoo Mail Restore Help Form.
The fact that you have this option makes it clear that your remails aren’t permanently deleted. If you can access them, you should assume that the opposite is true. A determined cybercriminal might be able to recover them, too.
Whether you use Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook, it’s likely that when you delete an email locally, that message may still sit in a server somewhere. Compare that to the security you get with our sponsor, StartMail. When you delete an email in your StartMail inbox, you can trust that it’s gone for good.
Why Kim trusts StartMail
StartMail was built to safeguard your data, activity and privacy. That means every email stays private between you and your recipient — there’s no middleman sneaking around the scene, writing down all of your secrets to sell to advertisers.
Your inbox is encrypted for extra privacy and security; plus, this avoids mass surveillance. You don’t have to worry about a company reading, scanning or analyzing your mail. You won’t see any ads, and there isn’t a company creating a secret customer profile of you that it will sell to advertisers.
That’s why Kim uses StartMail. With StartMail, I can send encrypted emails with one click, even if the recipient doesn’t use encryption. And StartMail never scans or analyzes your emails. Best of all, when you delete an email, it’s gone — forever.
Don’t trust Big Tech with your data and privacy. Go to StartMail.com/Kim today for a seven-day free trial and 50% off your first year.