By November 24, 2005

Encrypting your AOL Instant Messenger Conversations for Free

This is a repost from my vanity site — some of you have had your certs for a year and they have expired. So here’s a refresher on how to get your free encryption certificate. Pass this along to your friends who also use AIM. You will have to use Internet Explorer for this.

Because we use AIM at the office, we have a responsibility to be as safe and secure as possible.

Versions of AIM (5.5.3501 and later) allows you to import PKCS12 encryption certificates, thereby allowing for secure communications between users who ::both:: have these certificates.

Verisign is charging $15 a year for these certificates, or you can get one for free from a Web site I found. I have written out the steps I took to enable encryption on my AIM client. I hope you do the same!

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of AIM installed:
    • Open your buddy list
    • Go to My Aim >> Edit Options >> Edit Preferences
    • Select “Sign On/Sign Off” from the left hand menu
    • Select “Beta and Final Releases” from the Auto Upgrade pulldown on the right
    • Fully exit AIM and restart it.
    • Follow the upgrade instructions from AOL.
  2. Get your free PKCS12 certificate from COMODO
    • Go to Comodo to apply for your cert.
    • Enter your name and a valid email address
    • Enter a revocation password
    • Click Agree & Continue
    • You will receive an email from COMODO once your key is ready
    • Follow the directions in the email from COMODO to retrieve your key
  3. Export your key from Internet Explorer
    • Go to Tools >> Internet Options >> Content tab >> Certificates
    • Click on your COMODO key and then click Export
    • Click Next on the wizard
    • Click “Yes, export the private key”
    • Click the first two checkboxes in the export options
    • Click Next
    • Enter the passphrase … I used the same passphrase here as I did with COMODO
    • Choose where you want to save your private key
    • Click Finish
    • The Export Wizard will say your export was successful. Click OK.
    • Close the options windows
  4. Import your key to AIM
    • Open your buddy list
    • Go to My Aim >> Edit Options >> Edit Preferences
    • Click “Security” from the left hand menu at the bottom of the page
    • Click “Advanced”
    • Click “Import” under the “Import a Certificate” section
    • Locate your key in the popup window. Make sure you select the .pfx file type from the pulldown so your key will show up.
    • Click Open
    • Enter the passphrase … I used the same passphrase here as I did with COMODO
    • Your key is now imported. Click OK.
    • Close the options windows in AIM
    • You’re encrypted!!
  5. Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions!

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1 Comment on "Encrypting your AOL Instant Messenger Conversations for Free"

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  1. configuratrix says:

    I think I got it.