View Full Version : How Secure/Private Are IM Programs?
September 15th, 2003, 12:41 PM
How secure are IM programs like Yahoo, MSN, Trillian, AIM, and others? I have only used Yahoo WebMessenger (beta) where no software is needed. I have wondered about the security of that as well. I have never used this kind of thing before but am interested to use something to chat with my wife while on road trips. Is one client or service better, or worse, than another as far as security/privacy is concerned? I don't want our "talks" being intercepted. Is there a better solution than to use these chat programs? Am I being paranoid? I'm glad to find you here. There seems to be a lot of good information. Thank you!
September 15th, 2003, 05:56 PM
I think one of the larger risks in instant messaging is the file sharing capability and direct connecting. So be sure to double check these settings on your clients. If your concern lies with privacy you may want to look into end to end encryption. Some messengers like the new version of AIM http://enterprise.aim.com/products/aim/personalcerts/, offer this in the form of Personal Digital Certificates. (Another site to look at http://www.aimencrypt.com/ ). You can also use a multi protocol messenger like Miranda IM http://www.miranda-im.com/. They offer plugin support so you can communicate with users from msn, yahoo, aol, icq, and more. For encryption they offer a plugin called SecureIM which will encrypt your communication with 192 bit AES. I use it myself, and I must admit that it is not the prettiest thing to look at (without the customizations), but it does the job well. I believe Trillian also allows for encryption. However for all this to work, the other user must also have the plugin/security certificate/program that supports the same encryption features you desire.
I read this article awhile back, it is now rather dated. But I feel it is a good read. Basic information with a very light dash of technical information (if memory serves me correctly).
It says P2P, but messegners are included. It is also a pdf.
September 15th, 2003, 07:43 PM
Thank you very much. That was very helpful. I think I will check out a couple of your suggestions. The adobe file was interesting! Thanks.
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