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Instant Messaging

Pidgin_2.0_contact_windowInstant Messaging – IM – is the service which it says it will dethrone the future e- mail as the most popular means of communication. It is not a specific protocol , but a concept.

As people began to spend increasingly more time online, connected to the Internet, programmers creatively exploited the opportunity created by this leading communication one step ahead. Instant messaging has “invaded” the Internet in November 1996 when Mirabilis, an Israeli company founded by four programmers, launched ICQ (acronym very similar in pronunciation to I seek you), a free program that anyone can download it and to use it.

The main difference compared to the e- mail is that this type of communication focuses on the immediate sending of the message recipient. The user creates a list of other users with whom he / she wishes to communicate. When a person from the list becomes available, that enter the network, the service alerts the user and allows immediate contact between the two.

The advantages are obvious. Communication is very rapid and is made when two users are both available . The problem of spam disappears, and e- mail formalism imposed by its resemblance to classic mail disappears. Instant messaging can be compared with the phone as real-time communication, where both parties are available.

Companies have noticed the advantages of this type of service and began to implement it widely becoming larger, increasing employee efficiency through faster communication as comparable with e -mail, and arranging online meetings, much less consuming time compared to traditional.

In terms of investigations, IM problems are similar to those of IRC. Although companies that produce programs and coordinate client servers are in small numbers, they do not supervise their messages in transit. Community development is as important as the IRC, instant messaging relying generally on friendly relations and cooperation existing.

Logging messages sent and received is possible for all instant messaging programs, but it can be easily disabled, discovery of evidence relating to messages sent through the service is so uncertain. One advantage is however that contact lists are usually stored locally and is possible to establish a circle of knowledge of the person being investigated.

Regarding confidentiality, IRC and IM applications using mostly unencrypted transmission of messages, making them very vulnerable to interception. However many users, especially in companies, have realized the need to safe communication, this vulnerability is likely to disappear soon.

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