How Can You Stay Safe With Internet Messengers?

You may have read the 10 ways to stay safe with internet messenger services.

Now here they are again, in detail –

Internet messengers are one of many new communication tools that have become widely used since the advent of the internet.

Instant messaging is very similar to sending and receiving texts on a cell phone, except for the fact that you they are distributed via a computer and the web.

With new technology, however, come new risks.

In order to help you fully enjoy internet messaging, whilst staying safe, here are several tips you should bear in mind –

Choose Your Screen Name Wisely

It is always a good idea to pick a screen name that doesn’t give much away. By that I mean, it does not give anyone any clues as to your real name, age or location.

Only Talk To People That You Know

Most IM clients allow you to save people to your contact list. If someone who is not on there attempts to message you then think about what their motives could be before choosing whether to reply to them or not.

Never Give Out Personal Information

It should be obvious that you should never give out any personal or financial data to people that you do not know.

This especially includes your bank account number, pin number, etc.

Remember, that there are programs available that allow a scammer to harvest these from websites and messages and, also, that fraudsters are very clever when it comes to tricking you into giving out such information.

Beware!

Reject Downloadable Files or Free Software

Chatting to strangers is inherently risky. How more so to download files they send you that may contain viruses, trojans or spyware?

Do Not Save Your Log On Details In Shared Computers

If you are accessing the internet via a shared computer, e.g. an internet cafe, then never save your log-in details.

Unscrupulous users who access the machine afterwards could enter your account and then attempt to defraud other people in your contact list.

Do Not Use IM At Work

Using IM at work may be commonplace but do you realise that a great deal of employers monitor such traffic and even the conversations you are engaging in?

Such data could then be used against you.

Is it worth it?

Never Arrange To Meet Someone Through IM

Whilst there are reports of people finding a lifelong partner through the internet, there are also probably at least as many cases of people being beat up, raped or murdered.

If you really do want to meet someone you chat to online then stay safe, take a friend or at least let people know where you are going, etc.

Install A Firewall

A firewall can make it harder for a potential scammer to access or control your computer.

Never surf without one.

Protect Your PC From Malicious Software

It is always advisable to run a good anti-virus and anti-spyware program.

Even more so if you use internet messengers and chat rooms.

Cyber Etiquette

It is always advisable to be nice to everyone you meet and that includes online contacts.

Remember, if you don’t play nice then it is possible for you to be traced.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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