Perils of Instant Messaging: Security Issues

Do not disclose any confidential information while chatting on Messengers”! You might have come across such warnings several times while chatting online. Despite this, studies have shown that user data has been compromised several times in the past because of their non-conformist nature.

The problem with Instant messengers is that they don’t support encrypted communication. In simpler terms, conversations you make are transmitted in the textual format, making your conversation susceptible to eavesdropping.

To show, how easy it is to eavesdrop on to chat conversation taking place via Instant Messengers…….Just take a look @ the pictures below.
The lab environment consisted of two systems running Windows XP sharing Internet connection between them. The IM used was Yahoo messenger. An instant message was sent from Client 1 via Yahoo IM. The message was sniffed out on the other system. The snapshots of the process have been shown below…….

[Message sent by Yahoo messenger’s Chat window from Client1]

[Data sniffed out on client2 running ICS (Click on picture to enlarge)]

The lack of encryption makes it easy for @nyone with the right tools & intentions to eavesdrop on to your conversation as shown above. Thus, be vigilant while chatting via IM’s. Refrain yourself from giving confidential information including but not limited to password, credit card details…@s it may easily fall into wrong hands.

Happy Messaging 🙂


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