Top Reasons to Use a Secure Instant Messenger

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by fbyc

Top Reasons to Use a Secure Instant Messenger

Using a secure instant messenger is an important way to ensure that your messages are hidden from prying eyes and that they can’t be acquired from your PC by hackers or malicious software. While you might think that your messages are always secure, there are actually many ways that their security can be compromised and many people who are interested in ‘listening in’.

There are many reasons that you don’t want someone listening in to instant messaging conversations, here we will look at some of them and how this works.

Your IP Address

When you log on to an instant messaging server such as MSN, your IP address and port will be used to identify you. The servers need this information as they use it in order to allow you to converse directly with the other person – no need for any involvement from the server itself and therefore less chance of the conversation failing and less chance of the conversation being listened in on.

However when you sign into the messaging service this still requires your details to be announced there and that means that there are ways people could get your IP address and port from that information – which would be enough for them to hack into your computer and to listen to your keystrokes to get other information, or which could allow you to get a malicious virus or spyware. Meanwhile the person who you are talking to can also use netstat or a similar utility to get your IP address – which can be a problem of course considering you often don’t know who you’re talking to when you use MSN or ICQ.

Your Passwords and E-Mail

Even more worryingly, it’s also potentially possible this way for your e-mail address and password to get out. This information also of course must be communicated to the server meaning it can be intercepted, and that means that you can be caught out. This is a common way for people to get a lot of spam, and this can be either through the messaging service or through their e-mail. If you don’t want tons of junk mail, then a secure IM is a good idea.

Meanwhile your address can also be hacked into so that your e-mail can be used to send the spam. This can happen on an automated basis and it means that everyone on your contacts list will get e-mails from you which can not only be embarrassing but also of course unpleasant for them – especially if the e-mails contain links to viruses.

Of course just being spoken to by people you don’t know and didn’t seek out – who may have malicious intent – can also be a problem.

Viruses

Because MSN and ICQ have file transfer capabilities, this means that a virus can very easily be transferred as can any other kind of malicious software.

Your Conversations

Finally it is of course possible for people to log your conversations or to obtain the contents of your discussion without your being aware. While you might not talk about anything that secret, you still don’t want strangers knowing your business and this can have negative repercussions in various ways.

For more on using secure instant messaging follow the links, or download our secure instant messenger to keep your information safe.
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