Protecting Yourself from Computer Viruses in Messenger

Computer viruses can be passed between computers through e-mail messages, on floppy disks, and through messaging programs like Messenger.
Many computer viruses exist in .exe files that you can download to your computer via a file link in your Messenger conversation window. If someone sends you a file through Messenger, you are prompted to determine whether you want to download the file. A computer virus is released only if you double-click the file link or download the file.  Many viruses are designed to be sent through contacts in your contact list. Before you open an attachment, always ask your contact whether he or she sent you the file. If your contact denies that he or she sent you the file, do not accept the file or click it. Delete the file immediately. 
 
The following information can help in protecting you from viruses in Messenger as well as help you if you have already have a virus on your computer:
• Microsoft now provides a tool that can remove the most common viruses. You can access the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool by visiting http://www.microsoft.com/security/malwareremove/default.mspx .
• Turn on the virus scanner in Messenger.
For MSN Messenger 6.2
1.  Start MSN Messenger. 
2.  On the Tools menu, click Options. 
3.  Click the Messages tab. 
4.  Under File Transfer, select the Scan files for viruses using check box. 
5.  Click Browse, and then select the executable file associated with your virus scanning program. For help finding this file, see your antivirus vendor’s Web site or manual. 
 
For MSN Messenger 7.0, MSN Messenger 7.5 and Windows Live Messenger
1.  Start MSN Messenger. 
2.  On the Tools menu, click Options. 
3.  Click File Transfer, and then select the Scan files for viruses using check box. 
4.  Click Browse, and then select the executable file that is associated with your virus scanning program. For help finding this file, see your antivirus vendor’s Web site or manual.
Note If you have Windows OneCare, the associated virus scanner is preselected and this option will not be available. 
 
• Be cautious about accepting instant messages from people whom you do not know. To prevent people who are not in your contact list from sending you instant messages, follow these steps:
1.  Sign in to MSN Messenger. 
2.  On the Tools menu, click Options. 
3.  In the Options dialog box, click Privacy, and then select All others in My Allow List. 
4.  Click Block, and then click OK. 
 
• To disable users from sending you links in MSN Messenger 7.5 and Windows Live Messenger:
1.  Start Messenger. 
2.  On the Tools menu, click Options. 
3.  Click Security. 
4.  Clear the Allow links in the conversation window check box. 
 
• To obtain useful information about how to help protect your computer from malicious software, visit the following Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/viruses/imvirus.mspx 
• Make sure that your computer’s antivirus software is up-to-date. Visit your antivirus manufacturer’s Web site for more information. 
• Back up the data on your hard disk regularly. 
• If you have to repair your computer after a virus attack, visit http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;129972
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