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Anti-SPIM security tool added to Microsoft IM

Windows Live Messenger 9.0 beta launched

Microsoft is adding a new security feature to the next version of Windows Live Messenger to allow users to report those sending spam over IM (SPIM).

Windows Live Messenger 9.0 was released to private beta testers this week, according to Liveside.net, a site that focuses on Microsoft's Live brand of web-based applications.

The problem with SPIM is that it's annoying and, at worst, dangerous. The tricky part is that the hacker may have obtained someone's IM account details, so it appears that a genuine contact is sending the messages.

After compiling a list of IM contacts, hackers try to trick users into clicking links. Those links can often launch an unwanted installation of spyware or other malware via a browser vulnerability or other security hole.

Further details on Windows Live Messenger 9.0's reporting tool were not available. However, other IM products on the market use reporting tools to compile blacklists of known IM spammers in order to block them.

Liveside published other new details of Messenger 9.0 on Wednesday but then deleted the post on Thursday. It wasn't entirely clear why the site decided to delete the post, but it could be retrieved via Google's cache.

Liveside said other new features include the ability to stay signed into the application from several computers, called Multiple Points of Presence Support. In the previous 8.5 version, users are automatically signed out of the application if they log in to the application on a new machine.

Other new features Liveside said will be in version 9.0 include:

- Animated .GIF files can be used in the display photo area.

- Allows users to associate a specific sound with an action performed by one of their contacts.

- URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) can be clicked on in the status area.

For more PC security news, reviews and tutorials, see Security Advisor.


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