[unisog] MSN Messenger - two questions

Brian Eckman eckman at umn.edu
Tue Feb 20 21:55:40 GMT 2007

STeve Andre' wrote:
> On Tuesday 20 February 2007 15:46:15 Alan Rothenbush wrote:
>> Background:
>> 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 age)
>> 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
> Well, if you run gaim instead of the standard messenger program, you'll
> be safer.  Gaim is an open source multiple protocol IM system.  It runs on
> lots of systems, too.

Can someone please explain how Gaim would make him "safer"? There have
now been at least two posts that suggest this, but offer no explanation
regarding what makes them "safer".

Brian Eckman, Security Analyst
University of Minnesota
Office of Information Technology
Security & Assurance

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