Friday, May 16, 2008

Some tips to Protect Yourself on MSN Messenger

How do I Protect Myself on MSN Messenger?

One of my best mate Chris asked me to blog something about MSN messenger hack protection.

MSN Messenger is one of the most common instant messaging programs that are used across the world. With over millions of people signing up a year, it is no surprise that viruses and other forms of malware get passed through this software. In fact, there has recently been a large increase with malware received through programs just like MSN Messenger. Nevertheless, there are many simple solutions for you to use that can protect you from and harmful content.


The people you talk to on MSN Messenger are likely to be people that you know in real life. This is perfectly safe, and you will most probably never have to worry about any danger coming from them. Any time a contact adds you on MSN, you should receive a pop up box that appears when you log in. By looking at the email that has added you, you should be able to tell whether you know this person or not.

Unfortunately, some emails do not reveal the name of the person who owns that particular email address. In this case, if you feel any suspicion about the email address that has added you, uncheck the box that says "Add this person to my contact list". By doing this, when the new contact messages you, he or she will not be able to see your display picture, and you will not be able to see his or her nickname. Until you can be sure that the person who added you is someone you know in real life, keep them off your contact list to prevent them from seeing some of your information. Once you have verified that the contact is in fact someone you know in real life, you can add them to your contact list by click that "Add to contact list" button towards to the top of the conversation window when talking to them.

Some email addresses you can immediately block. MSN staff will NEVER add you as a contact on MSN. To contact you, they will email you via Hotmail. Email addresses such as Email addresses such as these are known as phishing scams. By pretending to be some sort of administrator, they will most likely try to direct you to a harmful site or coerce you into telling them your password. You can block these kinds of email before ever adding them to your contact list. This will ensure your safety.


Emoticons are a lot of fun to use. You can even create your own emoticons and show them to other friends. However, there is some way to store a
virus on an emoticon. When someone displays an emoticon to you, you have to download the picture just like any other normal picture. If that person were to attach some sort of malware to that picture, you may effectively 'download' a virus without even knowing it. There is a way to prevent this though.

On the main MSN window, click tools
Go to options
Go under Messages
On the right, uncheck the box that says 'Show custom emoticons'
Click ok

By doing so, you can no longer send or receive custom emoticons. As much as a loss as this may be to you, you make yourself much safer. It is well worth the loss to disable custom emoticons.

Display Pictures

There have been isolated instances of malware being transmitted with display pictures. Since you are free to use any display picture you choose, hackers may attach some malware along with the picture. When downloading this picture to view it, you may accidentally download the malware as well. Although this is rare, there is a way to disable it. Only do it if you are not much computer savvy.

On the main MSN window, click tools
Go to options
Go under Personal
Uncheck the box that says 'Show my display picture and allow others to see it'
Though display pictures are quite important, you may want to disable this if you regularly talk to people you do not know in real life.

File Transfer

One of the most common ways of being infected by malware over an Instant Messaging program is by the transferring of programs. You should never accept any files from someone that you do not know personally. If you really do need to accept a file from someone, you can help to protect yourself by scanning it.

On the main MSN window, click tools
Go to options
Go under File Transfer
Check 'scan files for viruses using:'
Click the browse button
Find your Antivirus software and double click it
Click ok

You will now use you
antivirus program to scan any files that you accept. This will help prevent any harmful programs to infect your computer.

Hacked MSNs

From time to time you are bound to have a friend that had his/her MSN hacked. When this occurs, immediately block that person until your friend tells you that they have regained control over their account.

Unfortunately, you do not always know when your friend's MSN has been taken over. When this occurs, the hacker may try to infect your computer as well. By following these steps you should be safe:

If a conversation is started by them wanting to transfer a file, DO NOT ACCEPT IT.

Do NOT click any links until you talk to them, and they reply

Most of the time, it is not the hacker themselves talking to you. It is an automated message to you.

When they start to talk to you, reply and ask them a question or two. If they do not answer, do not click any links or accept any files they may want to send. It is unlikely that they will leave the computer right after trying to contact you. Even if their MSN was not hacked, they can always resend the file.


NinJaMoo said...

Hey Shoaib,

Chris pointed me to your site. Couple of questions:
1) How will I know if my MSN's been hacked?
2) How do I rectify it once I find this out - do I have to reinstall MSN?

Shoaib Yousuf said...


Thanks for checking my blog.

Please refer to my post

I hope this answers your questions.



Anonymous said...

Hi Shoaib.
It's good tips, but the link you gave for how to know if your msn is hacked doesn't work. please post another link or something

Shoaib Yousuf said...

Please click on above link.

It should be working fine.


Anonymous said...

thanx alot Shoaib

i do have a problem after downloading a file that my freind sent me through msn my friend's nickname in my list becomes with strange scripts instead of arabic onse -I think russian scripts -

is that a sort of hacking pls ?

Shoaib Yousuf said...


This is not some sort of hacking.

It is more likely your friend’s computer was infected with virus/malware. When you came online, his/her msn tried sending you a file too which made your computer infected with similar virus/malware.

Now, similarly you would be sending files to all the people in your contact list too.
To fix this, avoid signing to your msn and run anti-virus scanner immediately.

If you don’t have one, then try to download free from and install it.

P.S – it is pretty hard to say which type o virus/malware your computer is infected because I don’t its name or activities.



Anonymous said...

Dear Sohaib,,

Lately i was chatting with a friend on MSN , i asked him about something and was waiting for the answer. I kept his window open as i needed the answer urgently.I was shocked of some comments he said and apparently he was talking to another girl. He directly said ( dear my msn has been hacked) I need to know , is this logical??? i found his story very weak just to cover up what he said....I'm really confused.. Please advise