Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm a Yahoo Messenger addict and I use it extensively with Pidgin on Debian. Unfortunately I moved to a place where I have to share a privately operated network connection with a lot of people I'm not really familiar with.

Without having details about the network architecture I think it would be really easy to monitor network traffic here.

I use https connections for all my mails, university stuff and social networks, so I'm not too afraid about those sites.

However it is a nightmare of mine that someone could read my private IM conversations and I didn't find any information about how the Yahoo Messenger is implemented on Pidgin and if my conversations are encrypted.

Can anyone help how to find out?

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

To monitor your network you can use Wireshark. It's the most popular software to analyse your incoming and outgoing network traffic.

And I think you will find out Yahoo Messenger is sent in clear text format... But it's great to find it out yourself what's encrypted and what's clearly visible for everybody!

share|improve this answer
I doesn't seem to be available for Linux :-( – Lea Hammerschmidt Mar 25 '13 at 12:58
It is using sudo apt-get install wireshark in terminal :-) – Nick van Tilborg Mar 25 '13 at 12:59
@NickvanTilborg you can use tcpdump in linux does the same as wireshark and is probably built in. – BigHomie Mar 25 '13 at 13:00
How embarassing :$ Thanks :-) – Lea Hammerschmidt Mar 25 '13 at 13:01

Wireshark is a quick way to tell. In addition, if your IM traffic is in the clear, you can use a ssh proxy back to your home (or somewhere else) to encrypt your internet traffic, or even an OpenVPN setup. This will encrypt all your outgoing traffic, including your IMs.

share|improve this answer
I try to connect to my university VPN once, but it didn't work :-| Seems like some ports are blocked... – Lea Hammerschmidt Mar 25 '13 at 13:04
If you really want to secure your internet traffic, and don't care about bandwidth, you can setup your own OpenVPN server at home, and connect to it from anywhere. It's a fair amount of work, but it's worth it imo. – BigHomie Mar 25 '13 at 13:12

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.