PDA

View Full Version : Yahoo! chat rooms safety question


MagicalSilverKey
10-28-2001, 09:39 PM
Whenever I enter Yahoo! chat via MSIE, it displays my screen name, then MY PC SERIAL NUMBER AS WELL AS MY IP ADDRESS!!! at the top of the chat room window. :eek:

So, an example would be:
"Logging magical_silver_key (000ABC 00.11.22.333.44) into the chat system"

This message NEVER appears when running Yahoo! chat via Yahoo! Messenger. It only appears in the MSIE version of Yahoo!chat.

Is it safe to use Yahoo! chat via MSIE?
Is it safe to use Yahoo! chat via Yahoo! Messenger?
Can anyone and everyone else in the chat room view this private information?
Do I need a firewall utility to be safe with ANY and ALL chat sites?

SenorBeef
10-28-2001, 11:11 PM
Originally posted by MagicalSilverKey
Whenever I enter Yahoo! chat via MSIE, it displays my screen name, then MY PC SERIAL NUMBER AS WELL AS MY IP ADDRESS!!! at the top of the chat room window. :eek:


What do you mean by serial number?

MagicalSilverKey
10-28-2001, 11:18 PM
Originally posted by SenorBeef
Originally posted by MagicalSilverKey
Whenever I enter Yahoo! chat via MSIE, it displays my screen name, then MY PC SERIAL NUMBER AS WELL AS MY IP ADDRESS!!! at the top of the chat room window. :eek:


What do you mean by serial number?

Well, I mean exactly what I said: the serial number of my pc.

I am using a Dell Dimension Desktop. The Dell service tag number (aka the serial number that is literally on the label of my computer as well as stored as data) appears in the chat window.

If my Dell service tag number were ABC123, then when I log in to Yahoo! chat via MSIE, it would show ABC123 in the Yahoo! chat window.

I hope this helps.

Badtz Maru
10-28-2001, 11:21 PM
They're on to you.

reprise
10-28-2001, 11:24 PM
You could try another client such as cheetachat or go directly through yahoo and see whether the same thing happens.

sailor
10-28-2001, 11:55 PM
The fact that the information is displayed on *your* screen is the least of your concerns. The question is whether it is displayed for others and this probably has nothing to do with what client you are using. When you log in they have your name and IP address, (obviously). The machine serial number is probably in the register somewhere but I do not see why anyone would be interested in this. So, the question is not whether they have the info (they have it in any case) but what they are doing with it.

reprise
10-28-2001, 11:59 PM
You should probably be using a firwall anyway - there are some pretty good free ones available.

KeithT
10-29-2001, 01:21 AM
I tried logging into Yahoo! chat, and it's not a serial number that's displayed, but two pieces of public* information: your computer's network name (which you can change) and IP address.

The network name is simply what's used to identify your system in a LAN, and has absolutely no meaning on the internet.

The IP address is needed to identify your computer and send data to the right place.

All of this is irrelevant, though, because other chat users only see your username, and not your computer name, or IP address.

Though firewalls are generally a Good Thing, a firewall isn't really going to do much of anything for Yahoo chat, through their Java applet (MSIE) or through Messenger, because your IP address is shielded from other users.... even if someone wanted to be malicious, there's no way to affect you if they can't reach you.


*Public, as defined as necessary in the context of intra-computer communications, not necessarily public as in "everybody knows my IP address."

MagicalSilverKey
10-29-2001, 12:53 PM
Well, I downloaded BlackICE and installed it. It seems to be doing a good job. I never knew I was being probed, (although I had suspicions) but BlackICE says I am, and takes the necessary measures to stop it.

BTW: I use dial-up ISP via 56 k modem

Thanks for the info.