If you use an instant messaging (IM) service to connect with other Internet users who are not part of your corporate...
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive emails regarding relevant topic offers from TechTarget and its partners. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Contact TechTarget at 275 Grove Street, Newton, MA.
network, once your message leaves your network it be will be in clear text. It's important to note that it is unlikely your IM traffic will be allowed to travel through your company's firewall, because IM's are inherently insecure and I imagine that your company's VPN and firewall policies are set to only allow acceptable traffic. Since you installed AIM yourself, I assume your organization does not allow IM traffic through its firewall. If this is the case, you are connecting directly to the Internet and not through your company's VPN. Therefore, unless you have a desktop firewall, antivirus and antispyware software on your home PC, you put yourself at risk of attack and/or infection by malicious code.
While more recent versions of AIM allow you to digitally sign and encrypt your chat and file transfers by using a personal digital certificate, free Internet IM programs generally do not, therefore, you should never assume your IM conversations are completely secure. On a final note, to be safe, I would first check with your network administrator to determine whether you are allowed to install and run programs such as AIM on a PC that is used to connect to the company network.
Dig Deeper on Social media security risks and real-time communication security
Related Q&A from Michael Cobb
Amazon disabled native encryption capabilities in the latest Fire OS version. Expert Michael Cobb explains what this means for security, and if ...continue reading
A pirated app called Happy Daily English beat Apple's App Store security review. Expert Michael Cobb explains how it works and what security teams ...continue reading
The Lenovo SHAREit file-sharing app has a hardcoded password vulnerability, among other issues. Expert Michael Cobb explains these flaws and how to ...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.