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Do's and Don'ts For Instant Messaging - 2

Instant Messaging : Do't trust your friends

Or at least all the messages sent to you by friends. Even not known by your own friend, the latter could be sending you a link that would lead you to a particular site (under the guise that it was supposed to be a picture of someone you might both know) that would get you to download software. In fact, this might reveal itself to be a Trojan horse that would automatically install spyware and adware on your PC and easily distribute itself.

It’s at these times that anti-virus software would be a big help.

Another element that shouldn’t be trusted are games. One such example is a game called Osama, which has been found to be spread via instant messaging.

Spread via instant messaging through a link inviting users to download the game wherein the idea is to pretend that one might be catching Bin Laden.

Those who clicked and downloaded the game and BuddyLinks which were able to retrieve all the user’s contacts in IM and sent the same message link to everyone else.

Software can help

Fortunately, there are security and anti-virus software that could extend the protection coverage of instant messaging services.

Zone Labs, for example, has released IMSecure. It is a program that makes it possible for you to encrypt messages as well as block hazardous and dangerous URLs.

The anti-virus software of Norton by Symantec has in its feature the scanning of instant messages along with McAfee. It is possible for these software programs to remove various different viruses from any files that were received via instant messaging.

The positive aspect about the mentioned software is that it does function. Based on the tests conducted by PC World, a lot of anti-virus software has been able to catch known worms and viruses that were sent via instant messaging.

Nevertheless, it is also a given fact that there is really no well defined anti-virus software program that could prevent all known attacks from viruses or worms completely.

Vigilance is always one of the most excellent methods of defense.

Altogether, one method to prevent threats from worms and viruses is by not putting any of your trust into any of the content that you receive from the Internet especially through instant messaging.

Prevention is always better than cure. Being very careful of any files sent through IM doesn’t mean that you are being paranoid; it is being safe rather than sorry later on.

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Step Twelve - Putting Together A Safe Home Network