Main/News >> News Archives > The week of August 20 (2006) (you
Updated SimpLite encrypts Windows Live Messenger chats
dwergs says ( 25 Aug 2006 ):
Miss Ke used to be logged into MSN Messenger all day, because her company used the software as a cheap tool for chatting with fellow workers and clients. She was so used to this convenient way of communicating she sometimes indulged in short, intimate conversations with her boyfriend, until one day that she realized that these conversations were public knowledge. "I was shocked to discover that everybody knew what we were saying to each other, because our MSN Messengers were monitored and the technical engineers couldn't keep their mouths shut," said Ke, who works for a foreign trade company in east China's Zhejiang Province. "I feel hurt when my colleagues make fun of me by quoting our private words," Ke said.
Ke's case is increasingly common, because most free IM programs can be monitored and many companies justify surveillance practices as a means of preventing the leakage of business secrets. According to the Shanghai Morning Post (via English.eastday.com), an employee with a bank in Shanghai, identified as Lisa, quit her US $3750 per month job last October after her personal chat sessions became subject of mockery among colleagues.
What's an employee to do? Unlike Microsoft Messenger for Mac 5.1, the PC version of Windows Live Messenger does not come with built-in encryption. As long as Microsoft doesn't add encryption to Windows Live Messenger, we will have to make use of third-party software. Now you probably won't remember it, but more than three years ago we posted a free tool called SimpLite. And it just so happens to be recently updated to support Windows Live Messenger!
- Contacts are authenticated using RSA keys up to 2048 bits, encryption is done using the following algorithms: AES (up to 128 bits) or Twofish.Remember that both contacts need to have the software installed for the encryption to work. Luckily, it's free as long as you don't use it to communicate with collegues or clients.
- Secures both MSN Messenger and Windows Live Messenger conversations, and can even color messages depending on their cryptographic state.
- Contacts' names can also be changed to a fixed value you specify.
- Attribute sounds or messages to each cryptographic event. You are thus directly informed when starting a conversation whether it is secured or not.
- If your contact is using SimpPro (the professional, paid version), you can receive or send automatically encrypted files. Note: MSN Display Pictures, MSN Emoticons and games are considered as file transfers and thus secured by SimpLite-MSN if your contact is using SimpPro.
>> Download SimpLite-MSN 2.2.4 (for MSNM/WLM).
Wanna become a Windows Live Messenger 8.1 Beta-tester?
dwergs says ( 25 Aug 2006 ):
Overnight, a lot of Beta Butterflies were invited to join the managed beta for the upcoming Windows Live Messenger 8.1 release:
"As some of our most valued beta testers we are cordially inviting you to join. We look forward to leveraging you beta testing leadership and expertise to make this another high quality Windows Live Messenger release. While this was sent out to former official testers only, the link to the survey is accessible here so if your dying wish is to become an official Windows Live Messenger beta-testers, here's a chance! UPDATE (thanks RaceProUK): Seems like the link
More details will be provided shortly, but during this beta you will be required to install and reinstall the software numerous times using our auto update framework.
is still only working for existing Butterflies only works if you're registered with Connect (makes sense...).
We expect Windows Live Messenger 8.1 to be released somewhere circa September (though that'd be very early), October or November.
[Thanks for reporting: wakh, imsoparanoid, xmz, Chris4, smooth-criminal, x2zen, MRM316, bigfeet, Cyril & Stephen Ophof]
Another virus warning: W32-Randex.GEL
dwergs says ( 24 Aug 2006 ):
Symantec has identified a new worm, W32-Randex.GEL, also known as Randex, which is spreading through Windows Live/MSN Messenger, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger and other IM systems.
"It tells the system to listen for additional commands over an instant messaging channel to computers, which are prone to the [recently discovered] MS06-40 vulnerability (Microsoft Windows Server Service Remote Buffer Overflow Vulnerability). It then allows a hacker to install programs, view changes, delete data or create new accounts with full user rights."
The distribution of the worm is currently very low, but just update your virus definitions to be on the safe side.
>> More details at Symantec.com.
One-click sex offender report button added to Messenger
dwergs says ( 24 Aug 2006 ):
Almost three years ago Microsoft shut down most of their MSN chat rooms because sex offenders were abusing the service to get in touch with under-aged users. The suggested alternative for online chatting at the time was MSN Messenger which allowed buddy list control. Needless to say sexual predators, often by posing as fellow teens, have found their way onto contact lists and police fear that more than 50,000 potential sexual predators are online at any given moment.
Last month 21-year-old Lee Costi from the UK was jailed after persuading a 13-year-old girl to perform sex acts for him to watch via his webcam. An examination of Costi's computer found more than 350 logs of online conversations with young girls in chat rooms and MSN Messenger, as well as with paedophiles around the world. And this is just one case of many, leading the US Congress to debate banning the sale of webcams to those under 18 (the idea has been dismissed by online child protection experts).
"Enough is enough", Microsoft and the UK's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) must've thought, and they joined hands to safeguard children from online sexual abuse and grooming. The result: a Windows Live/MSN Messenger tab with a big red REPORT ABUSE button, and a weekly online safety tip for youngsters.
As for the moment, the tab is only available to people with UK accounts. But the London-based internet child protection watchdog CEOP has up to 100 staff and tracks sexual predators domestically and across international borders, using strategic partnerships and legislative powers to bring them to account.
In similar fashion, Amsterdam police has plans to employ Windows Live/MSN Messenger to investigage crimes involving youngsters or track missing teenagers. According to a spokesperson there are quite a lot of cases in which young people are the most important witnesses. Whether this will turn out to be a Messenger tab as well remains unknown.
[Sources: The Observer, Webuser & NU.nl] [Reported by: darkip, Junaid, BAW, sYar, MenthiX, Gonšalo F. & m@rk]
In lack of the real thing: a StuffPlug 3 preview
dwergs says ( 23 Aug 2006 ):
Why are StuffPlug fans going mental these days? Maaaybe that's because a while ago its main developer, TB, spilled the beans about the addon's next release date: last week. But... still no sign of StuffPlug 3 (not even a sign of TB?). Frustration!
Why all the hype around the third version of StuffPlug? Well, maaaybe because it has become a standalone Windows Live Messenger addon that doesn't require Messenger Plus! (Live) anymore and blends into WLM similarly. Or maybe it's because of the handy unread e-mails tray icon, the one-click nickname editing, tray icon statuses, chat only names, etc. Got you interested? Then check out this preview (with screenshots) by Kangie and you'll get the idea.
Sooner or later, StuffPlug 3 will be released and you'll read about it on Mess.be!
UPDATE (thanks Kangie!): TheBlasphemer is just waiting for his new server to arrive before he lets the Beta loose to testers. After all bugs have been squashed, it will be released to the public.
[Reported by: OMEGA_RAZER]
Windows Live Contacts Gadget Beta Release
dwergs says ( 22 Aug 2006 ):
Also from Danny Thorpe's MSDN Blog: "The gadget works with any web server, most browsers, and doesn't require reams of license or partnership paperwork with Microsoft. You don't have to assimilate your web server into the Microsoft collective in order to play with Windows Live contact data." Further information about the gadget here.
>> Visit the Windows Live Contacts Gadget homepage.
>> Two examples of the gadget in action: Start a Party and Map your Contacts.
Introducing: Mess Patch for Mac
dwergs says ( 21 Aug 2006 ):
You might say Microsoft is neglecting the Messenger-loving part of the Mac community a bit, but we at Mess.be are not. Mac users, we heard you loud and clear and following up on his little effort from last year, Timothy has created a full-grown, multi-featured Mess Patch for Mac which currently allows you to:
- Remove all MSN/Microsoft branding.
- Remove all default Display Pictures.
- Remove personal/cooperate tab.
- Remove Display Picture container from conversation windows.
- Remove sign-in animation.
- Use default Windows Live Messenger Display Picture (when no picture available).
- Use a small Send button in conversation windows.
The greyed-out options like polygamy will be added later. Please also note that the Mac version of our Mess Patch was optimized for Microsoft Messenger 5.1.1, and that it is still in experimental phase so should Microsoft Messenger crash then just reinstall the client from scratch.
>> Screenshots: Options menu & example of a patched Microsoft Messenger.
>> Download Mess Patch for Mac v0.16.
Lucky Messer wins Sony PSP in Spleak compo
dwergs says ( 21 Aug 2006 ):
A Peugeot 206, a video conversation with the Sugababes, a now a Sony PSP. Yup, it pays off visiting Mess.be and entering the competitions we post.
Today Messer Sam has let us know that he's the lucky winner of a shiny new Sony PSP in the Spleak competition he entered after reading about it on our site.
Funny thing, nobody actually guessed her real name but Sam was closest (with "Marie"). Do I smell another name contest coming along in the future?
>> Add email@example.com to your contact list.
Watch out for new Messenger worm in the wild
dwergs says ( 21 Aug 2006 ):
I got a report from alex1 that a new worm is quickly spreading among his contacts over Windows Live/MSN Messenger. Potential victims receive a hyperlink which may look safe to click because it starts with http://www.google.com, but in reality it makes use of Google redirection method and prompts you to download an infected "FotoAlbum" screensaver.
In April 2005, Microsoft started filtering instant messages that contain specific filenames or extensions, like .pif, .scr, gallery.php, download.php, and profile.php? While useful to some extent, the server-side filter gatekeeper has been highly criticized because it also blocks harmless messages without proper notification, and moreover, because it can easily be circumvented by using alternate filenames, URL redirection or an adjusted server configuration.
Our advise is to always ask your contact to verify the content of the link he or she has just sent because in most cases, they are unaware of helping spread the worm and/or immediately go offline after the damage has been done.
PS: Yes, I'm back again and survived the Pukkelpop 2006 mayhem. Rock. Robot Rock!
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