University of California, Riverside

Instant Messaging @ UCR

IM Security

Many of the same caveats that apply to email also apply to Instant Messaging, and many of the same precautions are necessary:

  • Encryption: Spark IM's connection to the IM server is encrypted by default. All other clients must be configured to use an encrypted connection; it is impossible to connect without enabling encryption.
  • Downloading files: As with email attachments, exercise caution when accepting file transfers from other users. Only accept files that you are expecting and verify the sender. Ensure that you are running up-to-date antivirus software.
  • Clicking Links: Be cautious about clicking on links in instant messages as well, as some web sites contain malicious code that may compromise your computer.
  • Personal Information: Although UCR's IM server is only available to campus users with a valid NetID and supports message and connection encryption, it is best to avoid giving out personal information over IM.
  • Connecting from Off Campus: Although it is not mandatory, it is a good idea to use the UCR VPN client when connecting to IM or any other UCR service from off-campus, as your internet connection will be encrypted and your password protected.
  • Using Public Computers: Unless it is certain that a public computer can be trusted not to be infected with viruses, spyware, or keyloggers, it is best never to use a public computer to access any UCR service, as your UCR NetID may be compromised.
  • Message Logging: Instant Messages are not logged on the UCR IM server or in WebIM. However, many IM clients, including the campus-recommended Spark client, have logging enabled by default. This will create a log of all conversations on your computer's hard drive. If you do not want to save transcripts of IM conversations on your computer, you may choose "Disable Chat History" in the Spark preferences panel (click Spark > Preferences).

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Instant Messaging @ UCR
Computing & Communications Building

Tel: (951) 827-4741
Fax: (951) 827-4541