IM security

How does Instant Messenger work?

IM programs communicate only with special IM servers operated by that IM provider.  It keeps an open line of communication to your PC over the Internet and passes messages through instantly.  The server keeps track of who is online from your buddy lists and passes your messages back and forth, acting like a big telephone switch.  While they use the Internet, they do not use the Internet communications standards.  Instead each uses its own proprietary way of communicating.
International

Is IM secure?

IM is not considered secure and should not be used to exchange confidential information.   It is not necessarily encrypted, and the information passes through the IM provider's server where it's stored.  IM was designed to be fast and easy, not secure.
International

How can I protect my personal information when using instant messaging?

First, it is important to choose a pseudonym (or "handle") that does not reveal your identity or location. Give the pseudonym to the people on your contact list so that they will be able to recognize you. Second, never provide sensitive personal information when chatting, such as credit card numbers, passwords, or addresses. The information circulating during instant messaging and chat sessions may not necessarily be encrypted.
International

How does Instant Messenger work?

IM programs communicate only with special IM servers operated by that IM provider.  It keeps an open line of communication to your PC over the Internet and passes messages through instantly.  The server keeps track of who is online from your buddy lists and passes your messages back and forth, acting like a big telephone switch.  While they use the Internet, they do not use the Internet communications standards.  Instead each uses its own proprietary way of communicating.
U.S.

Is IM secure?

IM is not considered secure and should not be used to exchange confidential information.   It is not necessarily encrypted, and the information passes through the IM provider's server where it's stored.  IM was designed to be fast and easy, not secure.
U.S.

How can I protect my personal information when using instant messaging?

First, it is important to choose a pseudonym (or "handle") that does not reveal your identity or location. Give the pseudonym to the people on your contact list so that they will be able to recognize you. Second, never provide sensitive personal information when chatting, such as credit card numbers, passwords, or addresses. The information circulating during instant messaging and chat sessions may not necessarily be encrypted.
U.S.
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