Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Biggest Three Instant Messengers Of The World.

Depending on who you ask, the biggest 3 instant messengers are going to be different. For each PC user who uses an IM there is another one who will use something different, and enjoy it more, declare that it works better and is more secure.

The top notch and most often used messenger will of course be the MSN messenger which ships with Windows operating systems. While this version of the instant messenger service is not necessarily the best, it is the most widely used version of any instant messenger simply, we believe, because it is included with new versions of Windows operating systems.

Secondary to MSN messenger is Skype, the messenger which also permits telephone calls and offers discounted rates to callers in multiple countries. Many people are in actuality not aware that Skype permits instant messaging, but do use the service for telephone calls, which does add them to the count of total users.

Although AOL Instant Messenger, or AIM as it is called now, was once the largest as well as internet service provider in the country, it has lost ground significantly, in part due to the cheaper and better internet services that are currently on the market. As it lost ground as an ISP, the messenger too began to lose steam. One of three people say that they have AIM installed on their PC but do not use the instant messaging client.

For sheer numbers, the top three currently in use are MSN, Skype, and AIM instant Messengers. The three are used by myriad millions of users world wide.

Other clients which claim a share are:
ICQ, the first internet wide messenger, bought out several years ago. Pidgin, the open source instant messenger which is multi-protocol.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

About Instant Messaging Security

Controlling IM Security Risks

IM usage in business – whether sanctioned or not - is growing rapidly. IM and other real-time communications are network-enabled applications that often operate outside the control of the corporate IT department. While they offer business value, these not-so-secure channels are increasingly becoming the vectors of propagation for malicious applications and code leaving IT to address how to enable business productivity from IM while also controlling risk.

IM security risk falls into three main categories:

* Inbound threats
IM creates new vectors for the distribution of malware (viruses, worms, spyware, rootkits, and more) and SpIM (Spam over IM) which can cause a major drain on productivity and resources. Read about security incidents involving the use of chat, IM and P2P networks and learn more about malware and spyware prevention.
* Outbound threats
IM opens new 'holes' through which information can leak or be leaked, leading to user privacy concerns and the potential loss of intellectual property
* Non-compliance with corporate and regulatory requirements
IM creates invisible communications channels that operate below the radar of conventional information security measures, exposing the organization to regulatory compliance breaches. Read more about IM compliance and e-Discovery.

Technical Challenges of IM Security

Real-time communication and Web 2.0 applications are largely invisible to existing information security infrastructure such as firewalls, intrusion prevention and detection devices, and proxies because they are specifically designed to evade detection and provide ubiquitous access. Existing security measures do not adequately address the protocols and behaviors used by these applications.
Blocking IM is no longer an option:

* IM clients use port crawling - the ability to exploit any open port on the firewall - so blocking the 'usual' port for the particular application doesn't work.
* Every IM network provider has its own unique set of IP addresses to which clients can connect. These IP addresses change frequently or at random without notice, so firewalls and proxies cannot apply blocking policies using the typical black list of IP addresses.
* IM protocols are proprietary and constantly evolving to deliver new and more advanced features to users; firewalls and proxies do not evolve at this pace, nor do IT organizations want to be constantly updating protocol signatures on the firewall.
* The synchronous nature of real-time connections is much different from the asynchronous web browsing and email traffic; firewalls and proxies were not designed to inspect and analyze real-time communication traffic, so network performance suffers.

Beyond the technical considerations, blocking IM will also result in unhappy employees who will attempt to bypass controls, which may cause more problems than it solves.
The Leader in IM Security

Ranked #1 in IM market share by IDC for five consecutive years, FaceTime is the acknowledged leader in IM security and compliance management with more than five million seats under management, and an industry-spanning customer list that includes ten of the top ten US banks. FaceTime provides the de facto IM, UC and Web application security solutions that prevent malware and secure IM use, providing full visibility and granular control for all major real-time and Unified Communications applications:

* Public IM Networks (AIM, Yahoo, MSN, GoogleTalk, Skype, and more than 200 other applications)
* Unified Communications platforms (Microsoft OCS, Microsoft LCS, IBM Lotus Sametime, Antepo, Jabber, Parlano MindAlign)
* Professional Community Networks (Bloomberg, Communicator Inc., Reuters, PivotSolutions, YellowJacket)
* Web Conferencing (WebEx, Live Meeting)

FaceTime offers comprehensive IM security:

* Protection against inbound threats from viruses, worms, spyware, SpIM, and more by monitoring and managing real-time communication, Unified Communications and Web application channels
* Prevention information leakage through content filtering, logging and archiving for all text conversations and file attachment content
* Ensuring compliance through TrueCompliance™ strict policy enforcement and user/group level access controls

By integrating seamlessly with existing IT and information security infrastructure such as Active Directory, storage systems and anti-virus, FaceTime also enables maximum return on your existing technology investments.

Learn more about Vantage, the de facto platform for granular security, policy controls and compliance features for real time and unified communications (UC) – providing management for the widest variety of UC and real time communications platforms; including Microsoft OCS and IBM Lotus Sametime, public instant messaging platforms such as Windows Live and Skype, web conferencing and industry focused networks like Reuters, Bloomberg and YellowJacket.

Learn more about Unified Security Gateway, the only Secure Web Gateway to combine content monitoring, management and security of Web 2.0 applications, such as social networks, instant messaging and Unified Communications, with URL filtering, anti-malware and Web anti-virus protection.

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