How-to: Stay secure while using Messenger

Stay secure As viruses, backdoors, Trojan horses, even root kits are commonly spread these days, you should pay close attention while using Windows Live Messenger in order to maintain your own and your computer’s safety. Here are some tips that help you to stay secure:

  1. Do not click every link you receive.
    Be careful about strange instant messages, even when they are sent by contacts you know. There are bad people stealing the passwords of Windows Live IDs in order to send unsolicited messages, also known as SPIM. (Read more about it.)
  2. Do not accept every contact that is adding you.
    Watch out when accepting people into your contact list. Do you really know who they are? Before talking too intensely with new buddies, ask yourself: “Would I invite this person into my house in real life?” If you doubt, then why meet virtually.
  3. Think before sending personal information to buddies.
    Would you note down your mobile phone number and publish the piece of paper in your city’s public square? No? So you see how vital it is to be careful about which personal information you share with people you do not really know, especially your real name, address, date of birth or any phone numbers. Microsoft or Windows Live will never contact you about your Windows Live ID password, so don’t tell anybody your password, regardless of what they claim to be.
  4. Do not blindly accept all files that are sent to you.
    Files are the worst thing when it comes to virus danger. Accept only files where you know the contents, and only accept files that are sent to you by people you know you can trust. Always use a virus scanner to avoid random infections of your system. Be sure to keep a current back-up of all important data on your computer on an external device that is not connected normally.
  5. Use your common sense.
    If something sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true.