Many vendors offering Instant Messaging (IM) services have added new capabilities such as voice messaging and file sharing. Among others, AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo offer these IM services.
Clients of Instant Messaging services are also easy prey for the community of hackers. Using a simple monitoring program, the plain text from Instant Messaging can be easily captured and creates vulnerability to electronic eavesdropping. .
In one version of AOL's Instant Messenger, aka AIM, a user was found to have been the target of a hacker attack. The villainous hacker had crafted a URL which, when clicked by the user with AIM on their desktop, allowed the hacker to execute a virus on the victim's system. What is particularly sinister about this is that AIM does not have to be running for this type of virus to deploy.
Another avenue of attack is when victims are simply sent an HTML email with a link that when clicked will execute one or all of the following: a privilege elevation attack, a denial of service attack, or the installation of a backdoor for later use, to name a few.
Using a computer phone service that operates on secure lines with high end encryption codec on proprietary patented technology that features IM capability will optimally protect you against these vicious hacker attacks.