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Chapter 12. Securing Your Standalone PC:... > Privacy and Instant Messaging

Privacy and Instant Messaging

Instant messaging (IM) enables users to send messages to each other in near–real-time. IM is typically used while online on computers, but it is also sometimes used on other wireless devices, such as PDAs and cell phones. Even though each brand and version of IM software offers unique features, the basic premise—online chat—remains the same. These applications enable the user to set up lists of people with whom they chat, also known as buddy lists. When you log in to your IM software, your machine contacts the central server and checks to see which of your buddies are online. You can chat with multiple people at one time.

Instant messaging (IM) has grown significantly over the past several years. It has been spreading informally through networks of friends and colleagues. After one user is signed up with the service, he convinces and persuades other potential users to do the same. Not only have teenagers adopted this form of quick communication, but employees have also increased use of this technology in the businesses realm (although IM usually doesn't have an organization's IT group's approval or support). Employees have adopted this as an alternative form of communication with colleagues, vendors, and other parties. The immediacy and ease of use has helped the popularity and acceptance of this technology as a new form of communication.


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