Protect Your Instant Messaging Application


Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo are the leaders in Instant Messaging (IM). Instant messaging has become one of the most popular internet applications. Researchers believe that more than 900 million messages are sent a day. Forrester Research says that nearly half of the Fortune 1000 will adopt IM as part of the office.


Instant Messaging is commonly used to schedule meetings, for customer contact and networking salespeople. Unfortunately, IM has also attracted viruses.


The most recent virus is known as the Choke worm, which attacked MSN Messenger users. People received messages such as, “i have a file for u, its real funny”. Attached was a file called Hello.exe, which contained the virus.


With the convergence of wireless technology, Instant Messaging is expected to migrate to hand held devices such as cell phones and Palm Pilots. We are just beginning to see the security risks. Experts expect the viruses to grow in seriousness due to the increasing user base.


The Microsoft Messenger Service tech support recommends the following precautions:


  1. Be sure you know who is sending you a file transfer and what that file is before you accept it.
  2. Run anti-virus software on all transferred files to ensure they aren’t infected.
  3. Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date.
  4. Back up your data on a regular basis.


Instant Messaging is a convenient and easy communications tool. Be careful and stay up to date on the latest IM issues by checking Microsoft’s homepage.