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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Londonderry, Ireland, Northern
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    Messengers' security risks?

    What, if any, are the additional security risks associated with using e-messenger, MSN-messenger, AOL-messenger, and Yahoo-messenger?
    All help gratefully received!

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
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    Re: Messengers' security risks?

    The risks are still great enough ( in my mind ) that I not only avoid using any of the "messengers" but I have completely removed messenger from my machine. Not just hid it, I removed it.
    An article was published a while back that dealt with some of the security risks involved. It was written by Karl Seifried, a security analyst,
    The summary of his article is here:
    These programs present large security, privacy and legal risks, and you may
    want to ban and block them. If users need to collaborate with real time messaging
    and move files you might consider setting up an internal IRC server, or web
    based chat program, this will allow you to control who talks to whom a bit better,
    and log things easier. The proprietary protocols these services use have also
    been broken wide open, and if buffer overflows exist in the closed source clients
    you can be sure attackers will find and exploit them. To make matters worse
    is the next generation crop of file sharing software, which will allow for users
    to easily send and receive copyrighted or other objectionable material, the
    technical solutions for this are rather difficult, so you will need to have
    management support in dealing with it (i.e. disciplining users that break the
    rules). As always your security and usage policies need to cover these areas,
    and I would worry about them first rather then technological solutions to the
    Of course, you may get the direct opposite opinion from someone else, but I steer away from them all.

    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
    Today it is called golf!

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    Re: Messengers' security risks?

    i use 3 or 4 messenger services, personally: AIM, MSN messenger, Yahoo messenger, and Skype (voice messenger). being a user of most of these for many many years now (probably 6 or 7, with the exception of skype), i haven't had any problems from them, and they are usually logged on 24/7. however, some of my family members and many of my friends have... but thats a result of them doing things you shouldn't do, like clicking on every link they see without first inspecting them that in turn can download spyware or trojans or virus', etc. they have had a messenger program specific virus which targets their profiles and insert deceiving links to websites where more of these trojans would be installed.

    i feel that being singled out specifically by hackers or some other exploit is a low risk that i am happy to take for the benefits these programs provide. i also feel that i have sufficient protection from these, enough to keep peace of mind atleast, such as common sense, a good router & firewall, good antivirus protection, and good spyware protection (see the spyware & antivirus forum for help on these). on top of this, these messenger services continually update their programs addressing security issues as well as functionality of the programs - not that these updates are always wanted <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>
    <img src=/w3timages/blueline.gif width=33% height=2>

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