When I read about hyperlinks being blocked in Messenger 2009 the other day, I just thought: Well, this would not have been necessary if more chat users would watch out and use common sense while talking with others over the Web. This week, the antivirus company ESET published 7 golden rules for instant messaging. It might be useful to recall these general rules, even if you know them already.
- Don’t open images, files and links that others send you, even if it is from a friend. Ask the other person what the attachment is about before you receive it.
- Don’t accept friend requests from people who want to add you, unless you really know them. You want to add a new friend? Send them a request yourselves.
- Block unwanted messages. Somebody contacts you, but you don’t want to? Block them. Every Messenger contact has a right-click menu.
- Don’t send out private data via Instant Messaging. Most chat networks, including Windows Live, do not encrypt the sent and received messages. So, avoid sending credit card numbers, your address, phone number, or e-mail address over IM.
- Use a strong password for your Windows Live ID as well as for the corresponding e-mail account. This makes it harder for attackers to hack into your account.
- Don’t meet with strangers that you know from online chatrooms or social networking sites only. If you choose to meet nevertheless, take a friend with you and choose a public place as meeting location.
- Turn off your webcam when you don’t use it. There are malwares accessing your webcam without you knowing about it. So, check that the cam is off when it should be.
Following these simple guidelines, you can stay safe in Messenger. Even with more and more malwares spreading. :)