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Cutting Down on IM Spam

Friday, February 1st, 2008 by | Filed Under: Security Help, Using The Internet

Cutting Down on IM Spam

As you have probably figured out, living in an electronic age has its downsides, with one of them being swamped by unwanted e-mail in our Inboxes. Those who indulge in such an act are called spammers and they are growing by the minute, making our lives much more difficult. There are several different kinds of spam going around the Internet these days, but one of the most recent is instant messenger (IM) spam. What that means is that even if you prefer to be invisible to everyone in an IM program, spammers can get you anyway. Now, even if you can’t completely eradicate such a menace, there are ways of bringing down their frequency. Here are a few simple steps you can follow to secure yourself from this new type of spam brigade!

Yahoo! Messenger

First of all, you need to set your profile to “Adult” and remove yourself from being listed on Yahoo!’s public directory. This is how you do it:

1.) Log in to your profile by visiting this link.

2.) Once you’re there, click Sign In and log in using the same username and password you use for Yahoo! Messenger.

3.) Click View My Profiles and then click Edit, located next to your Yahoo! ID.

4.) Next, click Edit Profile Information on the next page. At the bottom of that page, put a checkmark next to the option of “Designate this profile as an adult profile” and uncheck the option that says “Add this profile to the Yahoo! Member Directory.”

5.) Click the Save Changes button when you’re finished.

How This Strategy Works

When you set your profile to “Adult,” spammers will have to physically log in to Yahoo! before they can harm you, so it acts as a good deterrent for spammers. Similarly, taking your profile off the Yahoo! Member Directory will make your profile almost invisible to spammers. And that’s exactly what you want to do!

Windows Live/Hotmail/MSN

Based on the same anti-spam principle of Yahoo!, here your job is to change your profile from “Social” to “Just Me.” Follow these easy steps to do just that:

1.) Go here and sign in with your Hotmail/MSN/Windows Live e-mail address and password (which is the same as your messenger log in).

2.) Next, click Profiles on the sidebar to your left. Go to the next page and click “Edit your shared profile.” Then on the next page, click Social and next to Permissions, click “Anyone on the Internet.”

3.) Checkmark the option of “Just Me” and then click the Save button to finish.

All Other Instant Messengers

Pidgin is a cross-platform multi-protocol instant messaging client that allows you to use all of your IM accounts at once. Pidgin is able to connect to every other chat service that exists in cyberspace. Some of them include AIM, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, ICQ, IRC, MySpaceIM, Sametime and Zephyr, among many others.

Now, what you can do to protect yourself from being spammed over these instant messaging networks is to download Bot Sentry, which you can do right here. Bot Sentry is a Pidgin plug-in that allows you to ignore instant messages (IMs), unless the sender is in your Buddy List, in your Allow List or the sender correctly answers a question you have pre-defined, such as “How do you spell the number five?” If the answer is wrong, such users cannot contact you ever again. This works with all chat services that are connected to Pidgin.

There you have it. I hope this one helps eliminate some of your IM spam problems. Be safe!

~ Zahid H. Javali

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