Feature list leaked for Microsoft's next IM version

Microsoft's next version of its instant messenger application will have a new security feature to report users who send unsolicited messages over IM.

Microsoft's next version of its instant messenger application will have a new security feature to report users who send unsolicited messages, known as SPIM (spam over IM).

That's one of several new features in Windows Live Messenger 9.0, which was released to some private beta testers on Tuesday, 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 Microsoft'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.

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Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
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