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AFRICABIZ VOL 1 - ISSUE: 71
MARCH 15 - APRIL 14, 2005
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Editor: Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum
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- SECURE AND PROTECT YOUR INSTANT MESSAGING CLIENT TO ESCAPE COMPUTING DISASTER


The flood of spams streaming daily into E-mail clients' Inbox remains unabated in spite of protest from the victims and regulatory decisions made by the authorities. One has to setup filters to keep them at bay - not to speak of intentional viruses sent by people who devote surfing time trying to harm others.

However, e-mail clients flooding by spammers is nothing compared to the assault that would occur in the near future (it started already on small scale) targeting desktop Instant Messaging (IM).

Indeed, contrary to the enterprise versions of the most used IM clients - AOL (AIM, ICQ), Microsoft (Messenger), and Yahoo! (Messenger) - desktop versions are bare of protection against spammers and hackers attacks. Further, messages are transmitted unencrypted and therefore are opened to screening by Bigbrother and competitors.

Soon, spammers and hackers would be using robots to scan the net for "active" IM clients to send flood of spams and take control of computers. The more IM clients you have opened the greater the danger to be attacked or flooded with spams.

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FIREWALL, ANTIVIRUS CLIENT, AND STANDALONE SPYWARE SENTINEL ARE NO MORE ENOUGH

Firewall, Antivirus client and standalone Spyware Sentinel [16, 34, 37, 40, 44, 63] are no more guarantee of computing' security. IM clients could become the gate for Trojan horses to penetrating your system; to creating havoc or perpetrating physing, which simply put means "identity theft".

If you are security minded (and you should to protect your main working tool - your computer) and if you do not want competitor to spy on you and take away vital information that cost you hard work and money, you need to have a better control of your IM clients.

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YOU HAVE THE CHOICE BETWEEN FREE PROTECTION SYSTEMS AND PAID SOPHISTICATED ONES

If you deal in sensitive business areas where you need to be absolutely sure of the integrity and the privacy of your exchanges with your collaborators and clients around the world, you could make use of the free Open Source excellent client called PRIVARIA that performs: Remote Desktop Access; Remote Command Shell; Shared Whiteboard; Secured Video and Audio Conferencing. That way you have what is called Virtual Private Network, which shields you from prying eyes and eavesdropper

There are utilities that helps secure IM's exchanges by encrypting messages with strong encryption that sometime are above 4000 Bits. Some perform just encryption of messages. Others encrypt messages and act as IM's firewall. Only few do the complete job of encrypting typed messages, acting as firewall to keeping Trojan horses at bay and encrypting peer to peer voice messages and files transfer.

The makers of ZoneAlarm (www.zonelabs.com), the popular and efficient Firewall, developed another client for securing IM called IMSecure. The freeware version of this program will encrypt one IM account (AIM, MSN, ICQ or Yahoo!), and also protects it against buffer overflow IM exploits. The Pro version encrypts multiple accounts in one go and provides additional security features. Your correspondent must be running IMSecure as well; otherwise messages to recipients are not encrypted. IMSecure encrypts third-party, universal clients such as GAIM and Trillian, too.

Secway developers (www.secway.com) also have an excellent client called Simp Secway Instant Messaging Privacy that comes in two flavors. A freeware and a PRO version. The freeware Simp-Lite is delivered in dedicated version to encrypt AIM, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ or Microsoft Messenger - if your correspondent is running the same version. The PRO version SimpPro is more sophisticated with strong encryption power (4096 Bits). It integrates seamlessly with PGP encryption client starting from PGP 8. SimpPro protects MSN messenger and ICQ files transfer even if your correspondent is running the Lite version of the client. Further, SimpPro can optionally save conversations in encrypted form on your harddisk. Only the right key and passwords will give access to those records, which can then be directly displayed, sorted or exported to text format.

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DO YOU REALLY NEED TO DEPLOY AN ARRAY OF INSTANT MESSAGING CLIENTS?

AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Microsoft Messenger, ICQ, Trillian. Etc. Your desktop is crowded with IM clients. Do you really need to deploy an array of IM utilities? As you may know there is now Skype (www.skype.com): The Internet Telephone That Simply Works as advertised by the developers.

That advertisement is not hype. Skype really works with crystal clear voice during audio exchanges. It performs also simultaneous voice exchanges, transfer of files and chat sessions. All being encrypted peer-to-peer that makes it difficult for Bigbrother to listen and temper with your files.

Further, Skype permits to reach land line telephones with the service called Skype Out. Till now one was obliged to seat in front of the screen to make phone calls. Now you can use a wireless phone that performs well up to a distance of maximum 300 meters away from the desktop.

In short you do not need to deploy an array of Instant Messaging clients. Just use Skype to lower the risk of being flooded by spams or attacked by hackers exploits.

However, all that said, if you are really under the scrutiny of Bigbrother, Constitution rights or not, you are in for real troubles. No utility would save you from a nightmarish life. Just watch Will Smith staring in
Enemy of The State

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FREEBIE


- HAVING TROUBLE WORKING WITH MICROSOFT WORD? NO MORE HEADACHES CONSULT WWW.WORD-ANSWERS.COM

The month's freebie is about about Microsoft Word.

How many times have you been stuck when working on a urgent report trying to find out how to format a page, to place a footnote, to fill out the header and the footer, to insert images and tables. Etc. Even if you do have years of experience working with Microsoft Word, one day you will find yourself guessing how to perform a specific action.

Here is a site Word Answers that makes it easy to find answers to your problem when you are in trouble. Of course you have the possibility to peruse through the bulky Microsoft Office brochure to find solutions. However, it is much easier to load www.word-answers.com. It is faster. There are 919 articles and tips available on this site, categorized across 112 topic areas.

Browse through the index by clicking on the links above, or enter your question or keywords in the search box at the top-right corner of every page. Information in this site covers different versions of Microsoft Word: Word 6, Word 95, Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, and Word 2003. Tips are clearly marked as to the versions to which they apply.

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