[unisog] MSN Messenger - two questions

Alan Rothenbush alan at sfu.ca
Tue Feb 20 20:46:15 GMT 2007


I'm now under some pressure to "release" MSN Messenger to a group of my users, 
some of them senior administrators.

To date, the answer has been "no, insecure, next question", and as I "own" the 
machines and the users are but users, it has not yet been installed.

Sadly, these bosses (at least one of whom can fire me) now present a 
legitimate business need for which I have no other solution, the problem 
being that prospective students almost universally choose some sort of IM as 
the preferred form of communication.  

(The Instant Gratification generation, I suppose, making me once again feel my 

Since we (annoyingly) do need students around the place, I'm probably going to 
have to come up with some solution.

My concerns (perhaps unfounded) are the need to open up the built-in XP 
firewall to a server off in the big bad internet, allowing access to an 
application that I think has historic security issues.

Question 1:

Are my concerns unfounded ?  

(My response "they're all wrong" to the statement "every other university does 
it" doesn't seem to be enough of an explanation)

Question 2:

If it turns out I have to do this, any tips for keeping things safe ?

Thanks in advance.


Alan Rothenbush
Academic Computing Services
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada

  The Spartans do not ask the number of the enemy, only where they are.

                                    Agix of Sparta

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