What does BCC Mean in Email and is Blind Carbon Copy Safe?

Did you know that when sending out an email to multiple recipients, you have three options to choose from:

Of these three, you are probably the most familiar with the "To" option. If you leave this field empty, your email message would have nowhere to go and would just sit in your drafts.

However, when sending emails it is also useful to know what CC and BCC mean as well. Understanding the proper use of these two, especially BCC, is the key to proper business email etiquette.

What is CC (Carbon Copy) and BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) and What is the Difference between them?

So what are CC and BCC fields?

These two are kind of leftovers from the days before the Internet when you would insert a sheet of carbon paper in-between two papers to get a copy of that document.

CC stands for "carbon copy" and it essentially means that you're sending a copy of an email to all interested parties and not just the direct ("To") recipient. In this case, everyone can see the email addresses of other recipients.

However, you don't always the main recipients to know that you've included other people in a mail with them.

This is where BCC comes in.

BCC stands for blind carbon copy and what this does is hide the fact that you've included other interested parties from the original recipient ("To").

Dealing with Multiple Recipients: When to Use BCC?

Okay, when would you use the BCC field?

There are three situations in which the use of blind carbon copy is not only warranted, but also highly recommended:

  1. When someone introduces you to someone else

Let's say a friend is helping you find a job and has introduced you to their boss via email. From here on out you might send several emails back and forth with their boss, but your friend's role in this is complete the moment you two connect.

Since there is no more reason for them to be a part of the email thread and in order to not fill their inbox with messages that are not relevant to them, you can then move your friend to the BCC field.

And if you get that job, make sure to thank them.

  1. When you need to send a mass email

The second reason to add BCC recipients is when you need to send a mass email (for instance a newsletter) to multiple email addresses.

For example, if you need to send out an email to your team members about a new company policy, a newsletter, or a party invitation, the last thing you want is to have everyone see each other's email addresses.

To prevent this and still ensure that intended recipients can see your messages, you just move them to the BCC field.

  1. When you don't want primary recipients to know someone else is "in" on your conversation

This one might be a bit underhanded, but say that you have an argument with a fellow employee about a failed project at your company. By BCC'ing other people such as your boss, you can include them in the conversation, without your fellow employee being aware.

Note that the last reason can be viewed as dishonest so avoid this whenever possible.

How Blind Carbon Copy Gets Exposed?

Exposing BCC is both an email etiquette and a privacy issue so it's a good thing to know when can this happen and how to avoid it.

1) You've put someone in the CC field instead of the BCC field.

Remember, CC and BCC are not the same. If you don't want people to see each other's email addresses, use BCC.

2) The attacker has managed to compromise the email server

If a hacker manages to compromise either the sender's or any of the recipients' mail servers, or the network traffic between the servers, they're able to see all the recipients in that email thread. This includes "To", "CC" and "BCC".

3) The attacker has intercepted your email traffic

A typical example of this would be a Man-in-the-Middle attack (MitM). If this happens, the attacker can see all of the recipients, including "To", "CC" and "BCC" ones.

4) The attacker has infiltrated your inbox

Finally, BCC can also be exposed when the hacker manages to find a way into your email and inbox, for instance using malware. Then all they have to do is check the "Sent" folder and be able to see all of your recipients ("To", "CC" and "BCC").

How to Use BCC and Protect Yourself?

There are a few steps you need to take when using BCC to protect yourself and other participants:

  1. Double-check if you're using BCC and not CC
  2. Use a strong password and MFA (multi-factor authentication) to protect your email
  3. Avoid unencrypted public WiFi networks to prevent their interception by threat actors. Use a VPN if you need to connect to public WiFi.
  4. Protect your device with regularly-updated antivirus and anti-malware software

How to BCC Someone Using CTemplar?

Just like other email clients, CTemplar also has CC and BCC fields. To use BCC:

New message
New message


That's it. You now know what CC and BCC mean and when to use one and when the other. Using BCC is a very important thing to master in business correspondence and corporate emails as using it the wrong way can seriously hurt your relationship with the other person.


Why would you use BCC in an email?

The biggest reason to add someone to the BCC field is if you don't want other recipients to see their email address and you want to protect their privacy this way.

When you BCC someone what do they see?

A person who you've included as a BCC can see the entire email thread between the sender and the intended recipient, but their own email address will stay hidden from the main recipient.

Is it rude to BCC someone in an email?

It depends on the circumstance and the type of correspondence. If you have a large list of email addresses that you need to send out, but you don't want the participants to know each other's addresses, then it's a good idea to use BCC.
Or, if someone introduces you to someone else via email and they no longer need to be a part of the correspondence, you'd be doing them a service by moving them to BCC.
However, you also don't want to abuse BCC by adding secondary recipients in there without the main ones knowing. It's always better to be transparent when it comes to business communication.