How to Secure Your Instant Messaging
Instant Messaging is a popular tool for many people. It allows instant communication over computers, without the need to spend extra money. However, it is not always secure. You need to look after the security of all your methods of communication. Here are four tips to keep your instant messaging system secure.
- Use a Strong Password: All instant messaging accounts are password protected. It is important to use a strong password, which is difficult for even computer systems to break. Use passwords that involve upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. The harder it is for you to remember and get right, the stronger it is!
- Avoid Clicking Links/Accepting Files: If you were not expecting files or links to be sent through, avoid clicking on them. There is the risk that viruses are hiding within them. The sender can then download all sorts of information on your computer, or force you to spend money to remove the virus he/she has placed on your system. If you were expecting links or files, make sure they are from the actual sender rather than just assuming. Their account may have been compromised.
- Avoid Sharing Personal Information: It is very difficult to encrypt information sent via instant messaging. The best thing you can do is avoid sharing any personal information at all. This also involves your real name. Choose a screen name that is easy for you to remember but not too close to your real name. Those who are eavesdropping will not be able to get the information they need to put your life or finances at risk.
- Update Your Security Settings: Do not let your computer automatically download files that are sent to your computer. This gets away from the issue of automatically accepting unexpected files. You want to verify everything that is sent through instant messaging personally.
You should also check the security settings within your instant messaging itself. How does it deal with sharing your location? What does it tell people about what you are currently doing or listening to on the computer?
It’s also worth checking the version of the software while you are there. Make sure you have the most up to date version, as this will offer more protection when it comes to security.
Make Sure Your Antivirus Software is Up to Date
Your instant messenger may be secure, but is your computer? Remember that you are still using the internet, so you need to make sure your antivirus software is fully up to date. This is important whatever type of application you use on the computer, and should even be considered when using your phone or tablet device.
Take your time to protect yourself whenever you are online. This is especially the case with instant messaging. Just because it is a quick and easy form of communication, does not mean you should throw caution to the wind. Keep your password strong, avoid sharing personal information and always check that your software (both instant messenger and antivirus) is fully up to date.