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Tech Tip: What is Spim?

Message boxesMost of us are familiar with spam. Since more and more protocols have been implemented to prevent unwanted e-mails from reaching your inbox, cyber criminals are looking to other methods.

Spim, or "Spam over Instant Messaging," refers to unsolicited instant messages. Messages such as these can be received in any application that allows instant messaging (AOL Instant Messenger, Windows Messenger, Facebook, etc.). With the growing use of instant messengers and social media, it is imperative that everyone be aware of these methods that online criminals are using.

Every year, more and more messages are sent via Instant Messaging. This form of communication is seen at the corporate level, too. As it becomes more prevalent, spim could impact the business community similarly to the way that spam does now, by consuming corporate resources and creating security problems.

Instant messaging can be especially useful for spammers. First of all, people are more likely to click on a link of sent through an instant message as opposed to one sent through e-mail. Also, instant messaging bypasses anti-virus software and firewalls that prevent most spam attempts.

How to Avoid Spim

In AOL Instant Messenger click the “More Options” button then select “IM Settings”. Click on the “Privacy and Security” tab. Choose the button for “Allow only people on my Buddy list”.

For Yahoo Messenger go to Messenger/Privacy Options then select “Ignore List”. Check the button for “Ignore anyone who is not on my Messenger List”.

With MSN Messenger go to Tools/Options then select “Privacy”. Check off “Only people on my Allow List can see my status and send me messages”. This will bring up your contacts list.

With Facebook, only friends can send you instant messages. Therefore, make sure that you are only adding people who you know in real life.

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