Instant Messaging: Adhere to Safety Rules
Thanks to better virus checkers, emails have become safer. However, IMs provide new a breeding ground for viruses and digital worms. Whether you’re a veteran IM user or you just decided to take the plunge, here are safety rules to remember:
On the technology side
• Run antivirus software regularly and apply security patches to your computer.
• Be sure your firewall is secure because IMs can dip into a firewall until they find an opening.
• Know that IMs can be saved and archived.
• Don’t accept downloaded files from people you don’t know.
On the common sense side
• Never give out sensitive or personal information such as your social security number, credit car numbers, passwords, and the like.
• Never relate confidential or sensitive information.
• Monitor your children’s use of IMs against a Contact List or Buddy List you’ve approved.
• Avoid posting your screen name online.
• Keep your business contacts on a list separate from family and friends.
• Follow company policies regarding the use of IMs.
Note: Some services let you archive IMs. If yours doesn’t, you can cut and paste the message or chat into a notepad or Word document. Remember that anything can and may be used against you.
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