Yahoo messenger has been one of the most popular and feature-ful online chat clients the world has seen. With plenty of options and buddies around, you can not just leave Yahoo Messenger once you have grown used to it. But where there is crowd, there are risk factors too. Alarmingly people have lost their accounts to hackers and have got millions of spyware and junk mails thanks to Yahoo messenger and its spam friendly technology. How do you get the best out of your chat buddy without risking your account? Well, here is a complete guide that will help.
1. Avoid P2P file Sharing Through Yahoo Messenger
Be it known or unknown, prefer not to receive any file from your friend unless you know what he is sharing and why. Avoid downloading .exe or .zip files from them as they are more likely to attack your computer or install trozans without you being aware of it. Never trust a stranger when he asks you to click on any site you haven't heard of.
2. Avoid Clicking on Spammy Links
If you were chatting with someone else and suddenly a PM box flashes on the screen with a lucrative offer/interesting site which has a spammy look, don't click on it. These websites have a lot of spyware who get silently installed if you go and surf them. Never download a toolbar unless its as authenticated as Yahoo's or Google's.
3. Use Ignore Option Effectively
Yahoo has an ignore option that lets you ban a person or mark as spam so that he can't disturb you once again. Use that option effective. Go to Yahoo Messenger main box -> Preferences -> Ignore List. If you want to avoid talking to strangers (which I always recommend)i.e. wanna talk to your buddies only, Check Ignore anyone.. option. That helps you be safe and block on the unwanted and potential hackers from reaching you. See the screen-shot below.
4. Use other yahoo 3rd party Chat Clients
Yahoo Messenger has too many loopholes. It doesn't have a strong security to block contents either. So, if you want to get rid of spams and porn contents all under one go, then you should go for some popular and secure yahoo chat clients like Yazak, y!supra. You can also go for Yah-Elite and Yam They may not have the same sophisticated GUI or entertainment features but they will increase the security of the chat sessions by many folds.
5. Always Use Newer Versions of Yahoo Messenger
Remember, the more you stay with the older versions and feel lazy to get upgraded, the more you are helping the hackers. Yahoo or any software, brings out these updates not only to extend features but also due to security reasons. A newer version of yahoo messenger 9 is hardly bootable by DoS attack whereas Yahoo Messenger 7 can be booted out or hacked by a script kiddie.
6. Don't download Yahoo Plug-ins from Unauthorized source
Do not ever download a plug-in of Yahoo messenger from any other site however lucrative it be. Plug-ins like these exploit the vulnerability once installed and send your account details to a third party revealing and cracking down your id. So, better be safe than sorry. No?
7. Use Proxy if you have a Better Firewall
Yahoo also gives you option to change your proxy. Go to Preferences and hunt down Proxy servers. You will see that you can set your own proxy server so that Yahoo gets redirected through yours giving you a better chance to protect yourself and secure by your network. But if only you have that faith on your network security. You can change it by going to Yahoo Messenger main box -> Preferences -> Connection
8. Use Word Filter
You can also use your word Filter in Yahoo messenger. It just discards all the obscene or threatening words by intelligent filtering system if you choose Strong option. But be aware, there may be some times when your own friend can get banned while cursing your jokingly. Word filter is another good option to be within your network and not let some specifically targeted spammers to arrive. It increases security too. You can change it by going to Yahoo Messenger main box -> Preferences -> Chat.
9. Be sure to Delete Your Profile after Chatting from a Public computer
Most of the users don't know about it. Whenever you sign in to yahoo messenger, yahoo makes a profile of yours in the directory Yahoo -> Messenger -> Profiles by the name of your yahoo id. There is an option by default at Yahoo messenger that messages will be saved as long as you are signed in to your account for that session. A good hacker can have access to that file and decrypt it to learn your private conversations.
What you must do if you are sharing a public computer to chat from, is, you can change it by going to Yahoo Messenger main box -> Preferences -> Archive. Change it to No, do not save any of my messages and you are done. Oh don't forget to delete your profile from Profiles inside Yahoo folder after you sign out.
10. Apply Your Common sense and Use a good Antivirus and anti spyware software
Applying your common sense is the least you can do to prevent your account from being hacked. A good anti-virus and anti-spyware always warns you about dangers that you may have overlooked. So its better to have them as well. If you implement the above 9 tips, you won't need to worry much I gues until you personally hand over your information to the person willing to crack your computer down.
Yahoo messenger is a very nice and useful place to meet new buddies and get connected with the old ones. Just be safe and secure and follow the above steps. You will be fine. Do you have something to tip all of us? Why don't you share. We are waiting.