Security Bug leads to Messenger Upgrades

Dennis Faas's picture

If you have signed into your Windows Live or MSN Messenger services lately, you may have had to upgrade. Microsoft is forcing its users to switch to the newest versions of its instant messaging programs due to a security threat with these systems. Although this upgrade will take place on a voluntary basis, those who do not modify their Windows Live or MSN Messenger services will not be able to sign in until they accept the new versions.

The services affected by the security vulnerability include versions 6.2, 7.0, and 7.5 of MSN Messenger, and version 8.0 of Windows Live Messenger. When the upgrade is completed, users who were running one of these affected versions will now have version 8.1 of Messenger.

Clients accustomed to their old versions have directed their anger towards Microsoft. As well, those using MSN Messenger are hesitant to switch to the more complex Windows Live service. However, the company is certain that the upgrade will be in the best interest of its users. As confirmed by a security product manager at Microsoft, "Some of you might feel this inconvenient, but in order to protect you and protect the health of the network, we have chosen to take this step." (Source:

If Microsoft's statement has not convinced you to upgrade, consider the risks associated with the security bug. It is a publicly disclosed vulnerability that has the potential to allow remote code execution when a user accepts a webcam or video chat from an attacker. If an attacker successfully manipulates its victim PC, it could take complete control of the affected system. Computers with the aforementioned versions of MSN and Live Messenger are at high risk of encountering the bug. On the other hand, users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system may be less affected. (Source:

Still mad about the fact that Microsoft is forcing you to voluntarily upgrade your instant messaging program? Microsoft users are not the only angry web users. Several months ago, AOL Instant Messenger insisted that its users upgrade from AIM 6.0 to 6.1. In the end though, the user has the final choice: Either upgrade now and continue your keyboard generated conversations, or upgrade later and talk to your contacts on the phone.

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